2012/13: Modernism at Risk – Restauration & transformation of the modern architectural heritage

Mejan Arc, Architectural Conservation 2012/2013, 60 ECTS


The conservation and development of post-war modernism requires knowledge of societal development, architectural ideas, modern materials and techniques. We need to actively seek out and classify these valuable objects NOW, before they disappear. In international style, contemporary modern and brutalism, there are rational, raw technical and material solutions and a scale which is not clearly embraced by the builders of society today. Through accumulation of knowledge, practical work, study visits and original group work, the course lays the foundations for refining and working with the buildings and environments that make up modern urban cultural heritage.
Modernism at risk
In the vast array of Swedish buildings and urban environments from the post-war era there is an important architectural, resource-related and cultural value. To manage, develop and refine these valuable objects is a long-term prospect. Today, some of these buildings face extensive conservation as well as a great pressure for change through the new needs and requirements which we place on functional architecture. The traditional focus of conservation on matter, patina, identity and authenticity often contradicts modernism’s basic concept: to fill a function and be in keeping with the times.
The preservation of modern architectural heritage is very problematic; technical solutions and choice of material are often experimental, in our view not fully developed, and not formulated in keeping with today’s high demands with regard to energy efficiency, sustainable development and with functional requirements for e.g., accessibility, safety and fire protection. How can we upgrade the modern architectural heritage, regenerate and restore functioning solutions and breathe new life into them? How can we fit in new functional requirements while retaining the quality of the architecture in society’s new social, urban contexts? How do we create the conceptual world of modern architecture? What does the present demand of the old building and how can we continue to experience the fresh face of modernism in the transformation of these buildings and environments?
Architectural Conservation 2012/2013
We are going in-depth with the concept of conservation in modernism’s renewal and are seeking a vision which responds to a desire for preservation and the will to innovate without compromises and without any fixed ideas about what good architectural conservation is.
Architectural conservation is never neutral, it is always a statement, an expression of our attitude towards architecture. We test the waters of international efforts in the field of modern architectural heritage. We look for the sources of Sweden’s post-war era international role models, go to New York City and analyse current efforts by Diller Scofido + Renfro, Integrated Conservation Resources, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. We visit the World Monument Fund, for example, and study: the repair of the Lincoln Center from the 1960s-70s, transformation and extension of the Julliard School from the 1960s, renovation of Lever House – a 1950s international style icon, the high-tech restoration of the Guggenheim Museum from 1957, the ongoing repair of the United Nations building from 1952, the transformation of Highline to a city park.
Guest teachers are Norman Weiss (Integrated Conservation Resources, New York), Vice Director Lisa Ackerman (World Monument Fund, New York), Professor Morris Hylton III (Florida University), Professor Jukka Jokilehto (Italy/Finland), Professor Dorte Mandrup (Denmark), Architect Wessel de Jonge (The Netherlands), as well as a number of other international and Swedish guests.
Course structure academic year 2012/2012
Architectural conservation is an undertaking for architects, landscape architects, interior designers, urban planners, engineers, curators, restorers and others, with an architectural degree or equivalent and at least one year’s relevant professional experience. The course is multidisciplinary, in order to stimulate an active discussion between different professions.
We work in six professionalization blocks with theory, lectures, group work and workshops. The group work and our 4 study objects in the Stockholm region are the main thread of the course with on-site studies, documentation, examination, 3D laser scanning, analysis on different scale levels and studies of completed work. Conclusions and proposed measures/actions/development and ideas for conservation and management are included.
The course begins on 10 September 2012 and will finish on 1 June 2013. The course periods are Autumn Semester weeks 37-38, 41-43, 48-49. Spring Semester weeks 4-5, 10-12, 19-21. Some weekend work during these course periods and some work at home between periods. A trip to New York City in week 42 and a trip to Berlin in the spring. Students contribute to the costs for travel and accommodation, SEK 6500/term; a total of SEK 13000. Any students who are unable to take part in trips are given alternative assignments. Parts of the course are given in English. The course is worth 60 credits (30 c group work/30 c theory), which can be credited towards a PhD course.
There is one scholarship of 289 400 SEK to one applicant admitted to the course “Architectural Restoration”. It is aimed to cover the whole tuition fee for a student from outside of the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Apply for the scholarship by submitting a motivating letter of maximum one A4 page. More information, www.……………?
The course is run by a professor of architectural conservation, architect Kerstin Barup and lecturer/architect Cecilia Sagrén. There is currently an opening for a professor of architectural theory and history at Mejan Arc.
Applications must include a civic registration certificate, degree certificate, summarized CV, brief letter of motivation and relevant sample of work, paper or equivalent. Applications can be made electronically at https://www.kkh.se/restaureringskonst
Contact: lecturer Cecilia Sagrén, 08-614 40 71, cecilia@kkh.se, or secretary Nina Lindgren, 08-614 40 25, nina@kkh.se. More info https://www.kkh.se/mejanarc/restaureringskonst
Applications must be received by the Royal Institute of Art no later than Monday 4 June 2012.
Course prospect and more info
Project catalogue