International / Getty’s Keep it Modern: Report Library

Keeping It Modern
Modern architecture is one of the defining artistic forms of the 20th century. Set free from traditional structural requirements, architects and engineers used experimental materials and novel construction techniques to create innovative forms and advance new philosophical approaches to architecture. 

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The Gandhi Bhawan in Chandigarh, India. Photo: Vanicka Arora, Associate Architect, DRONAH

Today this modern architectural heritage is at considerable risk. The cutting-edge building materials and structural systems that define the modern movement were often untested and have not always performed well over time. Heritage professionals do not always have enough scientific data on the nature and behavior of these materials and systems to develop the necessary protocols for conservation treatment. 

To address these challenges, the Foundation developed Keeping It Modern, an international grant initiative that continues our deep commitment to architectural conservation with a focus on important buildings of the twentieth century. 

Since 2014, Keeping It Modern has supported 54 grant projects of outstanding architectural significance that contribute to advancing conservation practice. Current active grants focus on the creation of conservation management plans that guide long-term maintenance and conservation policies, the thorough investigation of building conditions, and the testing and analysis of modern materials. The program teams participating in these projects are also spreading awareness of the need for research-based planning for modern buildings, and are themselves forming new international networks, aided by annual workshops in London made possible by Getty grants to the Twentieth Century Society.

Of the 54 project grants awarded to date, two focus on implementation. Due to their excellence in prior planning and the quality of implementation, these projects have strong potential to serve as models for the conservation of other 20th-century buildings. 

As a service to the field, technical reports from grant projects are made freely accessible online through the Keeping It Modern Report Library. The library is updated periodically with new reports as they are completed. 

The Foundation will likely offer two more years of Keeping It Modern architectural conservation grants. While Keeping It Modern is a fully global initiative, applications are particularly encouraged from Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Far East. 

If you are interested in applying for a grant, please review our grant guidelines

The Foundation created Keeping It Modern to complement the Getty Conservation Institute’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI). Two of the buildings supported to date by Keeping It Modern are directly related to CMAI.

Browse Keeping It Modern Projects By Year
2018 Grants Awarded
2017 Grants Awarded
2016 Grants Awarded
2015 Grants Awarded
2014 Grants Awarded
Above: Louis Kahn, Salk Institute, 1965. Photo: Joe Belcovson for the Salk Institute of Biological Studies.

The Getty Foundation
The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world. Through strategic grant initiatives, it strengthens art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections, and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts. It carries out its work in collaboration with the other Getty Programs to ensure that they individually and collectively achieve maximum effect.

The Getty Foundation (initially called the Getty Grant Program) was established in 1984 in the belief that philanthropy is a key ingredient in carrying out the mission of the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Getty Trust is an international cultural organization that includes the Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, and J. Paul Getty Museum. Drawing on our unique position as a grant-making entity within the larger Getty Trust, we utilize the expertise of all the Getty programs as well as colleagues in our fields to identify areas where grants can make a difference.

Since our inception, the Foundation’s signature grant programs have made art history more interdisciplinary and international; created models for the practice of conservation emphasizing the importance of planning and training; increased access to museum and archival collections, most recently in digital form; and nurtured a generation of new leaders in the visual arts. To date, the Foundation has developed, assessed, awarded, and monitored over 7,000 grants in more than 180 countries. You can browse the complete record in our online grant database.

For more than two decades, the Foundation practiced “over the transom” grantmaking according to defined program categories with regular submission deadlines. Then in 2008, partially in response to the economic downturn but also in accordance with shifting institutional priorities, we switched to strategic philanthropy and have since made our grants according to initiatives designed to address defined problems in art history, conservation, and museums. While economic conditions can affect our annual budget as was the case after 2008, the Foundation’s grantmaking is guided primarily by the Getty’s strategic priorities.

The Getty has been the only major foundation that supports art history and conservation on a fully international basis. We have always defined the term “art” very broadly, to encompass all times, all places, and all media. And we believe in the importance of the quiet work that goes on behind-the-scenes but is absolutely necessary for public projects to succeed: research, conservation, and interpretation. These values have guided us well, and we look forward to sharing our continuing work.