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Jun 13, 2012
In March, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) announced its Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) with a goal to "advance the practice of conserving twentieth-century heritage, with a focus on modern architecture." Given that many of the landmarks of Modernism are now well beyond fifty years of age, and that they were built with then-innovative construction methods, new techniques are required to address the conservation of buildings never meant to last as long as they have. Preserving an important movement in the history of architecture requires new research, tools, training, literature, and workshops, which the CMAI will help enable.
The first CMAI project is an assessment of Case Study House No. 8 in Los Angeles, commonly called the Eames House after its designers, the husband and wife duo Charles and Ray Eames. The house is a classic that balances industrial structure and color, a perfect setting for the couple's unique and influential designs. GCI is working with the Eames Foundation, which is responsible for the house, to investigate materials, examine environmental conditions, and analyze other areas. When the work is done, it will become a new case study house, one for the preservation and longterm care of modern architecture.
The CMAI is not the first initiative aiming to save modern architecture. It joins Docomomo, the World Monument Fund's "Modernism at Risk" initiative, and other efforts that acknowledge the importance of modern architecture and its preservation. For helping groups like the Eames Foundation preserve masterpieces like the Eames House, GCI's Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative is Character Approved.
[Image: Eames House (Case Study House #8), Charles and Ray Eames, Los Angeles, California (1949). Photo: Timothy Street-Porter. © 2012 Eames Office, LLC.]