Designers Ray and Charles Eames’ iconic mid-century modern Los Angeles home is again under the microscope as a case study in historic preservation. This time, the effort is local, sponsored by the Getty Conservation Institute as the first project in its newly announced Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI).
The initiative comes alongside a surge in Modernist preservation issues, writes L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, that are driven by the challenges of reconciling aging era architecture with its design aesthetic and construction reality of “impermanence and instability.”
Research by the Getty and the Eames Foundation will focus on preservation issues related to the building envelope, living room flooring, steel-framed windows, and interior fabrics as a part of a long-term strategy for ongoing conservation, maintenance, and display. The relocation of the house’s living room furniture to the Los Angeles County Museum through June 2012 created the opening that spurred the idea to gauge and develop an appropriate conservation method.
The broader CMAI program includes the compilation of an architectural preservation materials subject bibliography titled Conserving Twentieth-Century Build Heritage: A Bibliography, as well as public lectures beginning mid-2012, research, and additional field projects. For more information on the initiative go to the website.