Today the World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced the 2018 World Monuments Watch, listing 25 at-risk sites. Threatened by climate change, conflict, natural disasters, and preservation resource limitations, they range from modernist architecture to whole regions wrecked by hurricanes and earthquakes.
The Watch was launched in 1996 and is released every two years, its list organized by a panel of heritage experts from around the world, including specialists in architecture, archaeology, art history, and preservation. “By building an international coalition, the World Monuments Watch protects both the sites themselves and the shared history they embody,” Joshua David, president and CEO of WMF, stated in a release. He added that these sites “are where we come together as citizens of the world and renew our commitments to justice, culture, peace, and understanding.”
This 2018 edition has a particular focus on modernist structures, which can pose preservation challenges due to their porous concrete forms and often purpose-built architecture, whose heroic shapes can be difficult to adapt to new purposes. Furthermore, they are frequently too new to qualify for local historic listing and protection. For instance, the Hall of Nations in Delhi, India, pictured at the top of this post, was erected for the 1972 International Trade Fair and was torn down this April.
There remains more post-independence architecture in Delhi that’s in danger of being lost. These structures are joined by the Sirius Building in Sydney, Australia, a Brutalist high-rise of public housing from the 1970s whose future is in limbo, and the 1960s concrete Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium in Takamatsu, Japan, where a new sports facility’s construction puts rehabilitation into question. Meanwhile, sites related to the Civil Rights Movement in the Southern United States are also listed, as they can lack protection resources; WMF highlights homes, churches, and community spaces in Alabama that were central to organization and action.
Other themes for the 2018 Watch include “disaster response,” concentrating on sites in the Caribbean and Mexico recently hit by storms and earthquakes, as well as Amatrice, Italy, which was almost completely destroyed by a 2016 earthquake. Meanwhile, the Blackpool Piers in the United Kingdom are being damaged by rising sea levels attributed to climate change, and the al-Hadba’ Minaret in Mosul, Iraq; the Souk in Aleppo, Syria; the Old City of Ta’izz in Yemen; and the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Nigeria, are all in tumultuous conflict zones.
Below are a few of the 25 sites on the 2018 World Monuments Watch. The full list is available on the WMF site.
View the full 2018 World Monuments Watch on the World Monuments Fund site.
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