Saving Modern Moments
by Christian Horn
Some 500 architectural experts came to Paris in September 2002 to discuss the plight of a threatened species: architecture of the 20th-century Modern Movement. The 7th International DOCOMOMO Conference met in the UNESCO Headquarters designed by Marcel Breuer, one of the movement's masters.
The conference was organized around the theme of how modernist works are being perceived and treated in the present day. The aim was to shed new light on the circumstances and environments in which modern architecture was built during the 20th century and the evolution of attitudes towards it.
DOCOMOMO International ("Documentation and Conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement") is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 by Hubert-Jan Henket, architect and professor, and Wessel de Jonge, architect and research fellow, both at the School of Architecture of the Technical University in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
They were alarmed by the poor condition and threatened destruction of the sanatorium Zonnestaal (1926-29) built in Hilversum by the Dutch architect Jan Duiker. Henket and de Jonge initiated a public call for the building's restoration. They quickly found widespread support which inspired them to establish the organization. >>>
The UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, by Marcel Breuer, hosted the 2002 DOCOMOMO Conference.
Photo: Christian Horn
St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1961, by Marcel Breuer.
Photo: Faith & Form Magazine
Click on thumbnail images
to view full-size pictures.