Forward-thinking. Experimental. Bold. Progressive. Innovative. Once recognized for their defining characteristics, significant modernist sites around the world are victims of physical deterioration of materials, perceived obsolescence, and public apathy. These threats repeatedly result in inappropriate alterations or demolition. With many modern buildings too young to qualify for landmark designation and protection, the need for preservation is urgent.
In 2008, we launched the biennial World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize to recognize the individuals and organizations that preserve our modern built heritage through innovative architectural or design solutions. At-risk modern buildings can and do remain sustainable structures with vital futures; visionary architects, designers, planners, and community leaders play a paramount role in ensuring those futures.
The prize is a component of our Modernism at Risk initiative, which supports the preservation of modern architecture through advocacy and conservation projects. Both the prize and the Modernism at Risk initiative were launched with the support of founding sponsor Knoll.
World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize Winners
2016: Justus van Effen Complex
The 2016 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism prize is awarded to Molenaar & Co. architecten, Hebly Theunissen architecten, and landscape architect Michael van Gessel for the preservation and rehabilitation of the Justus van Effen complex in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
2014: Viipuri Library
The 2014 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to the Finnish Committee for the Restoration of Viipuri Library with the Central City Alvar Aalto Library in Vyborg. This restoration project, an international partnership, lasted from 1992 to 2013.
2012: Hizuchi Elementary School
The 2012 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to the Architectural Consortium for Hizuchi Elementary School, for its impeccable restoration of Hizuchi Elementary School in Yawatahama City, Japan. Following serious damage from a 2004 typhoon, the school had been the center of a two-year debate over whether to demolish or preserve the structure.
2010: Zonnestraal Sanatorium
The 2010 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to Bierman Henket Architecten and Wessel de Jonge Architecten for their exemplary restoration of the Zonnestraal Sanatorium (designed 1926-28; completed 1931), a little-known but iconic modern structure in Hilversum, the Netherlands.
2008: ADGB Trade Union School
The 2008 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to Brenne Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH, headed by Winfried Brenne and Franz Jaschke, for their restoration of the Bauhaus-designed ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau, Germany.