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Sites of Manhattan Modernism, British Brutalism Make World Monuments Fund Watch List

Today the World Monuments Fund announced its 2012 Watch List. Issued biennially since 1996, the World Monuments Watch seeks to draw international attention to cultural-heritage sites in need of assistance. The new list includes 67 threatened sites in 41 countries and territories from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Among the treasured yet endangered places in our own backyard is the former Manufacturers Trust Company Building at 510 Fifth Avenue (pictured), a modernist icon that last we heard was at risk of becoming a Marc Jacobs store. And across the pond, the WMF has spotlighted a similarly vulnerable trio of modernist sites—the Preston Bus Station, Birmingham Central Library, and London’s South Bank Centre—under the category of “British Brutalism.” And that’s just the modern architecture! The 2012 sites reach back to prehistoric times and include religious structures, cemeteries, houses, palaces, bridges, cultural landscapes, archaeological remains, gardens, and entire towns (we’re looking at you, Charleston). “While these sites are historic, they are also very much of the present—integral parts of the lives of the people who come into contact with them every day,” said WMF president Bonnie Burnham at a press conference held this morning. “Indeed, the Watch reminds us of our collective role as stewards of the earth and of its human heritage.” Download and peruse the full WMF Watch list here.

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