|The Twelfth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2010|
Modern architects created new, uplifting, and innovative buildings, which received immediate recognition through media and printed matters worldwide. Yet, the pioneering techniques and materials they often used involved unforeseen problems. Techniques became obsolete and materials deteriorated rapidly, due to the high level of experimentation. Poor maintenance and a low level of public awareness generated numerous inappropriate and reckless alterations. As a result, many creations of the “modern movement”, from emblematic masterpieces to “ordinary treasures”, were left to decay or be destroyed. DOCOMOMO International – the international committee for the DOcumentation and COnservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the MOdern Movement – was initiated in 1988 on the belief that the preservation of modern architecture presented an urgent worldwide challenge, one that required fostering immediate collaboration across boundaries and mutual exchanges.
DOCOMOMO’s uniqueness lies in this openness to diverse and worldwide recognition. Modernity in culture, given material shape in modern architecture, has many faces. Some architectural historians consider the modern movement as a definite chapter in architectural history, a past period decomposed in several “isms” and schools – international, rationalist, formalist, constructivist, which only needs to be compartmentalized and documented. By contrast, DOCOMOMO stresses that rather than a style it is the innovative character of any twentieth century building, regarding its social, technical and aesthetical dimensions that represent the core of modernity.
The aims of DOCOMOMO International are stated in the DOCOMOMO Charter:
a. To exchange know how and ideas in the field of Modern Movement architecture and design and its documentation and conservation;
b. To act as watchdog when examples of Modern Movement architecture and urban design are in jeopardy;
c. To stimulate the interest of the public in general and the proper authorities in particular, in Modern Movement architecture and modern design;
d. To make an international register of important Modern Movement buildings to be preserved and/or documented;
e. To formulate new ideas for the future of the built environment based on past experiences of the Modern Movement.
Professor of History of Architecture
University of Bologna
Chair DOCOMOMO International
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