The larger story

The architecture of the Modern Movement is as much at risk of neglect and misunderstanding today as at any time since its creation but its cultural value is being increasingly appreciated.

The physical survival of its buildings is widely threatened due to the experimental construction technologies which were employed and by changes in the functions for which the structures were designed. Indeed, it was often a central element of these architects' philosophy that the buildings should be designed closely around a particular social requirement of their day and not aspire to outlive that use. Despite that initial intention, such buildings are important cultural monuments for us in subsequent generations. Conservation of these buildings thus presents demanding technical, social and economic problems as well as interesting philosophical ones. Through its international specialist group on technology, DOCOMOMO assembles the experience of practising architects across the world as they deal with conservation problems of the typical materials employed by Modern Movement architects. Specialist conferences and resulting publications have examined the problems of conserving such materials as concrete, curtain walling and timber in modern buildings. Even when a building genuinely has no viable future, its design innovations may still represent an important contribution to architectural knowledge that ought to be preserved through appropriate analysis and documentation.

DOCOMOMO is the world-wide organisation which addresses these questions.

Duiker, Zonnestraal sanatorium,
Hilversum 1926

Coates, Isokon flats, London 1933