Bulgaria’s Buzludzha monument and these other Modernist masterpieces have just been given a new lease on life

23 July 2019

Ten endangered icons of Modernism from around the world — including a laboratory in Kaunas, Lithunania and the Buzludha monument in Bulgaria — have just been given a new lease on life from the Getty Foundation.

The Los Angeles-based arts organisation announced a total of over $1.7 million (£1.36 million) in grants to be awarded for the conservation of the two buildings and either others as part of their Keeping It Modern initiative, dedicated to research and long-term conservation of significant twentieth-century architecture.

Bulgaria's Buzludha monument. Image: Dora Ivanova/Getty Foundation

Bulgaria’s iconic Buzludzha monument — otherwise known as the “communist UFO” — was completed in 1981 as a tribute to the Bulgarian socialist movement, but fell into disrepair after the collapse of the country’s communist government in 1989. The half-abandoned Brutalist gem remains a popular landmark and tourist attraction whose restoration efforts began last year after decades of neglect.

The laboratory at the Faculty of Chemical Technology at the Kaunas University of Technology is a less famous but an equally distinct example of Modernism, built in 1932 and designed by Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis. Its restoration works come just in time for Kaunas’ designation as European Capital of Culture in 2022.

The laboratory at the Faculty of Chemical Technology at the Kaunas University of Technology. Image: Lukas Mykolaitis/Getty Foundation

These two buildings, and eight others from across Africa, Europe and the Americas, join 54 more ongoing projects since the start of the Keeping It Modern initiative, which already includes a host of New East masterpieces like Armenia’s Lake Sevan Writers’ Resort and the Melnikov House in Moscow.

You can read more about this year’s ten additions here.

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