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Eames House Is First Project for Getty’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative

The sight of crumbling modern architecture—buildings often conceived and built in a flurry of systematic optimism, zippy colors (or pure, grime-magnet white), and, less than enduring materials—can be soul-crushing, as can the laborious and costly process of restoring a modern marvel to its former glory. The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles has committed to aid in this cause through the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, an international program announced this week. “This research-based initiative will increase knowledge for the field and develop new tools to assist practitioners to conserve the architecture of the modern era,” said GCI director Tim Whalen in a statement issue by the The J. Paul Getty Trust. They didn’t have to look far for the first project: the Eames House in Pacific Palisades. A GCI team will undertake investigative work and analysis to understand the current condition of the house, built in 1949 by Charles and Ray, along with its contents and setting. They’ll also assist the Eames Foundation in developing a plan for the house’s long-term conservation and care. Architect Kyle Normandin, formerly of NYC-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, has joined the GCI to manage the new initiative, which is overseen by Susan Macdonald.

And speaking of valiant efforts to thwart the growing threats to modern architecture, our sharp-eyed friends at the World Monuments Fund are now accepting nominations for the 2012 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize. The $10,000 prize will be awarded this fall to a design professional or firm in recognition of “innovative design solutions that preserved or saved a modern landmark at risk.” The deadline for nominations is July 31. Click here for full details.

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