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NEW SECTION: Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism

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November Iconic Houses Month rescheduled to April 2021

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16 September 2020

NEW SECTION: Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

An initiative of the Iconic Houses Network

  • Bosschaert House in Laren, Gerrit Rietveld (1963). Renovation of roof, restoration of the interior and redesign of the outdoor space. Photo Martin Lehmann.
  • House on the Bunker in The Hague, Romke de Vries (1951). Repair of scaffolding, steel windows and doors and wooden frames. Photo Steven van der Goes.
  • Van den Doel House in Ilpendam, Gerrit Rietveld (1959). Restoration of the gray-glazed brick side wall. Photo Sander van der Heijden.
  • Van Schijndel House in Utrecht, Mart van Schijndel (1992). Restoration of patio gardens. Photo Aad van Vliet.
  • Bosschaert House in Laren, Gerrit Rietveld (1963). Renovation of roof, restoration of the interior and redesign of the outdoor space. Photo Martin Lehmann.
  • House on the Bunker in The Hague, Romke de Vries (1951). Repair of scaffolding, steel windows and doors and wooden frames. Photo Steven van der Goes.
  • Van den Doel House in Ilpendam, Gerrit Rietveld (1959). Restoration of the gray-glazed brick side wall. Photo Sander van der Heijden.
  • Van Schijndel House in Utrecht, Mart van Schijndel (1992). Restoration of patio gardens. Photo Aad van Vliet.

Launching this month, the Toolkits for the USA and The Netherlands bring together a library of useful information from all over the world that has been vetted by international heritage and conservation experts. In 2019, the Iconic Houses Foundation initiated a pilot project with the Getty Conservation Institute to compile a version of the Toolkit for the USA as part of the GCI's Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative. In 2020, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, joined the initiative and compiled the Toolkit for The Netherlands.

Whether you’re a conservation professional or a complete novice, if you're the owner of a modern house, this library is here to help. Perhaps you bought a modern house because of your interest in design, or maybe you've inherited a house (possibly from relatives who built it), or are part of a local group which has come together to try to save a house - whatever the circumstances, if you want to secure its future, this is a great place to start.

Different countries have different levels of protection for modern buildings, as well as different regulations and planning systems, but wherever your modern house is located, some know-how is universally applicable. In addition, much can be learned from what has happened elsewhere.

We have arranged the material into the following sections:

1. Establish and Understand Significance
The first section will help you to work out why your house is special and how to tell its story. If it’s not already protected by your country’s preservation legislation, this section will help you nominate it for a historic register or the equivalent.

2. Practical Challenges and Material Issues will help you look after the physical fabric of your house with regular maintenance and sensitive upgrading or alterations. It will encourage you to look ahead to make long-term plans for conservation which acknowledge the challenges of the costs of caring for a historic building, the impact of development pressures and climate change and (more positively) the growing appreciation of modern heritage.

3. Case Studies provides examples of various types of projects carried out by homeowners and other small groups of concerned individuals. It also indicates which types of organization can help with this.

4. Additional resources contains a survey of the national and regional organizations involved in heritage conservation, journals and other sources of information.

Toolkits for USA and The Netherlands
The Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House is an initiative of the Iconic Houses Foundation. The project started in 2019 with a pilot in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles. The Toolkit USA is compiled by the GCI's Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative. In 2020, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (RCE) joined the initiative and compiled the Toolkit for The Netherlands. Both toolkits for the USA and for the Netherlands go live in October. Iconic Houses is now investigating whether the new section can be expanded with toolkits for other European countries where the Iconic Houses network is active and where most of its members, modern museum houses, are based, such as Belgium, Germany, France and the Czech Republic.

Posted 20 October 2020