The World Monuments Fund has announced its 2014 Watch List, which includes 67 sites in 41 countries and territories with a range of advocacy and preservation needs, including the first of its kind in Singapore. Six of these "sites" are in the United States: The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; the George Nakashima house, studio and workshop, Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Henry Klumb house, San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, Missouri; Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin; The Cloisters and Palisades, New York and New Jersey.
WMF President Bonnie Burnham stated, “The 2014 Watch presents a selection of monuments from around the world in need of both new economic resources and innovative ideas about how to preserve them for future generations. These sites—and countless others like them—recount our human history and highlight our achievements. It takes vigilance to keep them active in the world, yet it is often the case that the very places that provide rich character and texture to our lives need more assistance and attention than they are given."
The biannual list was launched in 1996 and since then has included more than 740 sites in 133 countries and territories, both urban and remote. Unlike the World Heritage Site, the goal of the WMW is to move sites off the list, acting as a call to action to bring the fragility of these destinations to international attention. Several are in conflict zones, including the entire country of Syria which was placed on the list. Also of note, Venice, which is on the new list because of the perils associated with the rise in cruise ship tourism on the waterfront destination.
The Gateway Arch, 2006. Media Services Staff, National Park Service/WMF
Often referred to as "the St. Louis Arch," the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the mid-century modern icon that symbolizes the westward expansion of the US, faces corrosion issues. Designed by Eero Saarinen (conceived by Luther Ely Smith in the 1930s), the arch was constructed between 1963 and 1965 and now the difficulty is how to stop the encroaching corrosion of the interior stainless-steel supporting structure, a challenged compounded by its unique design and extreme height.
Interior view of old artillery shed, which houses 100 untitled works in mill aluminum. Douglas Tuck/WMF
In Marfa, a pilgrimage site for fans of Donald Judd, a movement is underway to ensure the installation of his sculptures are preserved as they were conceived by him. The Chinati Foundation was created by Judd, who transformed abandoned buildings to create a permanent exhibition space not only of his work but also that of John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin. Housed in the middle of the desert of the former army Fort D.A. Russell, the site highlights the important relationship between siting and the experience of the work of art itself. Today, with many of the buildings of the extensive campus in a deteriorated state, the Foundation hopes that its placement on the 2014 list will help spread the word of the significance of the original vision and help preserve it for future generations.
View of the Palisades from the terrace of the Cloisters. Andrew Winslow, Metropolitan Museum of Art/WMF
The Hudson River Palisades, a stretch of land north of the George Washington bridge, was designated as a National Landmark in 1983. The pristine gift of the Rockefellers, in which no building could rise above the tree line for a 10-mile-long stretch, now runs the risk of being disturbed by high-rise construction, which would lead to an environmental impact on the region. Currently a public campaign is underway to encourage LG to build their proposed new headquarters in a more horizontal configuration so as to preserve the undisturbed site lines.
The unique paraboloid roof of the Nakashim Arts building. Paul Warchol/WMF
George Nakashima is celebrated for his wood furniture, and his home and workshops, built between 1960 and 1975, are now run by the Nakashima Foundation for Peace. The buildings are handmade, on land first bartered for by Nakashima after internment during the Second World War. The pool house features a cantilevered platform pool, plywood construction and copper pipes for solar water heating, while the Cloister has a plywood roof, of a different composition than today's versions, covered with asphalt. His son lives on the property today, where the furniture workshop is still overseen by his daughter Mira, and fortunately, the historic architecture is still intact. However, with the one-of-a-kind structures, there is no precedent for how to maintain them, and some of the details, like mosaics that came from France, will require skilled artists and craftsmen who are trained in original techniques.
The Hillside Home School. Taliesin Preservation Incorporated/WMF
Taliesin, in Wisconsin, was completed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1903 as the Hillside Home School, built of locally quarried stone in a variety of neutral colors and textures. In 1911, Wright completed the residential and studio complex of Taliesin, which continued to evolve until his death. The low-lying home epitomizes the architect's believe that a building should be in harmony with its environment. His lifelong home, Taliesin was placed on the 2010 Watch list, but now the Hillside Theater, which is the most public space at Taliesin, is suffering severe drainage issues and a failing roof. As another experiment site, the challenge presents difficult conservation challenges.
Written by Zoe Settle
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