World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize

With the support of founding sponsor Knoll, WMF launched the World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize in 2008 to raise awareness about modern preservation success stories. The prize recognizes outstanding and innovative design solutions that save modern icons.

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.

Launched in 2008 with founding sponsor Knoll, WMF 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 features; visionary architects, designers, planners, and community leaders play a paramount role in ensuring those features.

The prize is part of WMF’s broader programming to address the challenges faced by modern sites through advocacy, education, and conservation, which includes the World Monuments Watch and Modern Century. The prize stemmed from WMF’s Modernism at Risk initiative, created in 2006 in response to increasing threats to modern buildings, including neglect, perceived obsolescence, inappropriate alterations, and demolition.

The World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize recognizes heroic efforts made for the preservation of our modern heritage. Projects that enhanced a site’s architectural, functional, economic, and environmental sustainability while also benefiting the community are encouraged. 



World Monuments Fund invites nominations for the 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the award. The prize will be awarded this fall to an architect, urban designer/planner, or other design professionals or firm, recognizing an innovative intervention that preserved and saved a threatened modern building or complex.

Nominated projects must have been completed in the last five years, and must have faced challenges or threats that affected the site before preservation (for example: deteriorated condition of original materials, obsolescence, abandonment, changes in use, ownership, economic or political conditions, etc.).

The deadline for nominations has been extended to June 30, 2018.
Please contact with any questions.

The Prize will include:

  • A cash honorarium of $10,000
  • A Knoll® Barcelona® chair
  • Round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations in New York City for the prize winner to attend the award ceremony

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 and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art.

The prize winner as well as a selection of honorable mentions will be announced fall 2018.

The award ceremony will be held at the The Museum of Modern Art on December 4, 2018.

If you have any questions reagarding the nomination process or a site's eligibility, email

Previous WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize Winners

Justus van Effen, 2016.

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.

Viipuri Library

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.

Hizuchi Elementary School

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.

Zonnestraal Sanatorium

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.

ADBG Trade Union School

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.