HAVANA, Oct. 11th On Thursday, the Getty announced the recipients of its 2018 Keeping It Modern grants, which provide conservation planning funds to significant 20th century architectural landmarks, internationally, $1.7 million in all this year.
The 11 latest grantees span nine countries; but this year’s initiative marks the first time grants have been awarded to buildings in Cuba, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ireland as well as the country of Georgia.
“These countries are now demonstrating that they’re ready to embrace new approaches to the preservation or conservation of modern architecture,” Antoine Wilmering, the Getty’s senior program officer, said in an interview.
“Many buildings are repaired on an ad-hoc basis — when the roof leaks or something — but we’re developing comprehensive conservation management and policy documents to guide both short-term repairs and long-term care, rather than one ad hoc decision after another. That being embraced by countries all over the world is incredibly significant, because in each country, it has impact beyond a single building.”
$195,000 will go to Cuba’s nearly 55-year-old National Schools of Art of Havana. The complex of five Catalan-vaulted brick and terra-cotta domed structures, each housing a different school of the arts, was among the country’s first cultural projects after the 1959 revolution.
Designed by Cuban architect Ricardo Porro and Italian architects Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi, it marked a spirit of cross-cultural collaboration and optimism at the time.
But by the late ’60s, support for the art school waned and some of the buildings were even left uncompleted. Today, much of the concrete is flaking, and frequent flooding has eroded the brick and mortar. Specialists at the technical university Politecnico di Milano in Italy will lead the conservation project, which also includes the training of Cuban conservation professionals.