The World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced a commitment of more than US$10 million to go towards preservation projects to protect culturally significant places from around the globe in urgent need of intervention. The initiatives vary in scope, from winterization efforts at Ukrainian heritage sites to protecting remote archeological sites representative of Peru’s Chachapoyas Civilization. The suite of projects launching in 2023 aims to address and help mitigate the threats that heritage sites are facing: conflict, climate change, and underrepresentation.
UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Latest Architecture and News
World Monuments Fund Announces Financing for New Projects to Safeguard Endangered Places Worldwide
Striking a Balance: The Dilemma in Heritage Cities
Subject to the forces of capital, migrating populations, and political circumstances, our planet’s cities are constantly evolving. This continuous evolution is evident in the built fabric of settlements, as architects and planners build upon layers of the built environment, with some having the strenuous task of having to integrate the historic urban areas of cities successfully with contemporary architectural interventions and systems.
The cities of this category are frequently in an internal conflict — oftentimes having to grapple with the sometimes contradictory aims of both sustaining local populations and welcoming outside investment and national development projects.
The Historic Center of Odesa, in Ukraine, Added to UNESCO's World Heritage in Danger List
The World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe the Historic Center of the Port City Odesa, Ukraine, on the World Heritage List. The decision symbolizes the recognition of the outstanding value of the site and the commitment of the 194 States Party of the Convention not to undertake any deliberate step that may damage it and to help protect it. The site has also been inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, which gives it access to international financial or technical assistance to ensure its protection and, if necessary, assist in its rehabilitation, according to UNESCO.
Kengo Kuma, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki, Philippe Prost, and William Matthews to Design Visitor Center at UNESCO Site in Albania
The Butrint Management Foundation (BMF) has revealed the four teams that will design the new visitor center for Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Albania’s Ionian coastline. Kengo Kuma & Associates, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects, Philippe PROST / AAPP, and William Matthews Associates were selected to create concept designs for the 1,000m² visitor hub at the country’s most iconic cultural destination, home to artifacts and structures dating from the Iron Age up until the Middle Ages. The proposals will be judged in 2023, and the new visitor center is due to completion in 2025.
SOM and RMC to Redesign the Visitor Experience at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Egypt-based Raafat Miller Consulting (RMC) have been selected by OSL for Entertainment Projects to reimagine the visitor experience at one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the historic Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. SOM will serve as lead designer of the project's concept, design, and masterplan, which will feature the transformation of the existing show facilities into a world-class visitor experience with a program that ensures environmental and preservation measures.
Yemen’s Ancient High-Rises: How Conflict Erases Heritage
Skyscrapers are an unmissable characteristic of contemporary settlements. From São Paolo to New York, from Seoul to Dubai – these towering structures are a ubiquitous part of the urban fabric. The conventional image one has of these structures is of curtain-walled facades, but in Yemen – an ancient example goes against this trend. Central Yemen is home to the city of Shibam, surrounded by a fortified wall. It’s also home to a dazzling example of architectural ingenuity – tower houses that date back to the 16th century, stretching up to seven stories high.
Ukrainian Architectural Landmarks Face the Threat of Destruction
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unleashed a major humanitarian and refugee crisis, with 4.2 million people fleeing into neighbouring countries and 6.5 displaced internally. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 18 million people are projected to become affected in the near future with the current scale and direction of the ongoing military violence. In addition to the threat to human lives, Ukraine’s culture is also at risk, as cities and historic buildings are being destroyed. In March, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has expressed concern over the damage caused to historic landmarks in Ukraine and called for the protection of its cultural heritage. The following are some of Ukraine’s most prominent architectural landmarks, which are now in danger of being destroyed amid the conflict.
UNESCO Expresses Deep Concern Over Ukrainian Landmarks and Takes Action to Protect Endangered Heritage
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has expressed concern over the damage caused to historic landmarks in Ukraine and called for the protection of its cultural heritage. At the same time, the organization has taken action within its capabilities to help safeguard the endangered sites. Ukraine is home to seven World Heritage sites, including the 11th-century Saint-Sophia Cathedral and the entire ensemble of the Historic Centre of Lviv. In addition, several sites in the recently damaged cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv were on the tentative list for potential nomination to World Heritage status.
Architecture & UNESCO: Rethinking Preservation and Cultural Heritage
Architecture has always centered on permanence and ephemerality. Defined by material conditions, how we build is closely tied to what we preserve and how we conceptualize the future. Furthering international cooperation in education, the arts, the sciences, and culture, UNESCO is an organization that continues to examine the relationship between history and growth, preservation and change. As architecture, landscapes and cities become threatened by the climate crisis and unrest, cultural context becomes paramount.
Poland's White Gold: The Story Behind one of the World’s Biggest Adaptive Reuse Projects
The Republic of Poland boasts diverse geographical territories and cultural tribes that span thousands of years. Its cities and towns reflect a whole spectrum of styles, from Romanesque architecture to Gothic Revival and postmodernist residential and commercial structures. In addition to its unique topography and rich urban fabric, the country houses 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One site, however, has stood out from the rest and given the country a royal status. Tucked beneath the Malinowka stream, just outside the southern city of Krakow, is one of the world's oldest and largest hand-chiseled underground mines that has been transformed into an expansive, all-inclusive complex. From a naturally-healing health center to a secluded church and an underground bungee jumping platform, this colossal adaptive reuse project is the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
UNESCO Removes Liverpool’s World Heritage Status and Spares Venice of In-Danger Designation
This month, UNESCO has announced a series of decisions concerning important heritage sites, giving rise to conversations around preservation and urban development. Last week, the World Heritage Committee decided to strip Liverpool of its heritage status, as the new developments are considered detrimental to the waterfront's integrity. These projects placed the city on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012, a designation which Venice managed to avoid earlier this week, due in great part to the recent ban on cruise ships.
Eileen Grey's Controversial E-1027 Villa is Restored and Open to the Public
Association Cap Moderne have announced that the restoration of Eileen Gray’s modernist villa E-1027, along with other projects on the Cap Moderne site, such as Le Corbusier’s Cabanon and Unités de Camping, and l’Etoile de Mer restaurant, have been completed and are now open to visitors. The site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered as one of the must-see places to discover in the region, welcoming more than 10,000 visitors a year.
Mecanoo to Design New Macau Central Library in UNESCO World Heritage Site
Dutch design practice Mecanoo has shared initials details of the new Macau Central Library as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed for the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government, the project will be located by the Tap Seac square on the site of the former Hotel Estoril, the first casino resort in Macau. Activating the square and public realm, the library will encourage visitors to uncover and utilize this new public amenity.