In March 2012 the Getty Conservation Institute launched the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI), a comprehensive, long-term international program to advance the practice of conserving twentieth-century heritage, with a focus on modern architecture. Through research and investigation, the development of practical conservation solutions, and the creation and distribution of information through training programs and publications, the CMAI will work with international and local partners, including professional and organizational networks focused on modern architecture conservation, to expand the existing knowledge base.

Salk Institute in La Jolla, California
 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, new conservation challenges emerged, as the seminal works of the Modern Movement reached fifty years of age and became eligible for heritage protection. Many of these buildings have not aged well. The new and innovative construction methods and materials that typify the era challenge traditional conservation approaches and raise new methodological and philosophical issues. Despite increased recognition of modern architecture’s cultural significance, there is a lack of practical conservation knowledge that addresses the many complex challenges. Effectively tackling these issues demands leadership, strategic research, and brokering with industry to develop appropriate repair techniques that translate research into practice and achieve conservation aims. A concerted effort to bring together and distribute existing information, as well as identify and fill information gaps, is also needed.

The program will also implement training programs for practitioners targeted to specific needs in the field, as well as develop new key literature resources that will include philosophical and technical materials, guidance on applicable conservation methods, and lessons learned from GCI field projects. These activities will be coupled with public programming events, lectures, and workshops on topics related to the conservation of modern architecture that are relevant to a wide professional audience.

The Getty's location in Los Angeles provides opportunities for the CMAI to bring local experience to international efforts and to apply international experience locally. The Getty Research Institute's Architecture and Design Collection, with its vast array of architectural drawings, photographs, models, papers, and ephemera, provides an important resource for the initiative.

More information on the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative can be found at www. getty.edu/conservation/cmai.