2021 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize

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The World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize recognizes outstanding achievements in saving buildings emblematic of the groundbreaking modern movement that swept across the globe during the twentieth century. World Monuments Fund (WMF) established the biennial award in 2008 with founding sponsor Knoll to honor individuals and organizations that have revitalized modern built heritage through innovative architectural solutions. This year, the prize will recognize a project showcasing excellence in environmental sustainability and preservation that has a positive economic and community impact. The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm EDT.

Once considered the vanguard of architecture, modern structures around the world are falling victim to deterioration, perceived obsolescence, and public apathy. These threats repeatedly result in outright demolition or alterations that compromise the building’s integrity. Many modern structures are too young to qualify for landmark designation and protection, and as such, require additional support for their preservation.

An independent jury of architectural scholars, conservators, and professionals in related fields will select the prize winner. The jury is chaired by Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Nominated projects must have been completed in the last ten years and must have faced challenges or threats that affected the site before the project implementation. Threats may include deterioration of original materials, obsolescence, abandonment, or inappropriate changes in use, ownership, economic or political conditions surrounding the site. The prize will be awarded to a project that increased the site’s environmental and economic sustainability while benefiting the local community.

The prize is part of WMF’s broader commitment to address challenges facing modern sites through advocacy, education, and conservation, including the World Monuments Watch, WMF’s biannual program spotlighting 25 sites under threat with the potential for social impact. The prize stemmed from WMF’s Modernism at Risk initiative, created in 2006 with the support of founding sponsor Knoll, in response to the increasing threats to buildings representative of the modern movement.