Icons at Risk helps preserve unique 20th century houses worldwide


Iconic Houses Network


Endangered, Threatened
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The Iconic Houses Network, an organization dedicated to furthering knowledge of, and support for, leading international examples of 20th-century residential design, has just launched Icons at Risk, a new initiative to preserve the world’s most endangered architecturally important modern houses. 

This project seeks to address the immediate vulnerability of architecturally and culturally significant modern houses of the 20th-century, which remain inadequately protected and supported in many countries. Icons at Risk brings together a range of stakeholders (academics, heritage professionals, homeowners, and preservationists) to explore and address current threats to these culturally significant residences. The project has one principal aim: to raise public awareness of the modern house as a significant category of modern architecture at risk.

The culmination of over two years of intensive work, over 20 sites have already been added. In addition to identifying houses threatened by the wrecking ball or those deteriorating rapidly due to of deferred maintenance or vacancy, the list also include stories of modern masterpieces that have been demolished, and success stories about houses that have been saved. 

If you know an endangered house, download the Alert Form (Word doc) and send it to info@iconichouses.org

Why Icons at Risk is needed: Two case studies 

Casa Sperimentale

Mysterious Casa Sperimentale (also known as Casa Albero, the 'treehouse') was built between 1968 and 1975 as an experimental villa for weekend use. Its architect, Giuseppe Perugini, was among the first to explore the application of the language of computer programming to building design. The original design is unaltered, but the building is abandoned, has sustained damage in recent years and is now structurally at risk.

La Ricarda

La Ricarda (also known as the Gomis House), is the most emblematic example of rationalist architecture in Catalonia. It still belongs to the Gomis Bertrand family, who want to preserve it in its original state. But it is in danger. In the 1950s, Barcelona Airport was small and far away, now, the airport’s third runway is no more than 400 metres from the house. Pollution and the deafening noise from ascending aircraft are having an effect, and urban expansion is engulfing the surrounding nature.

Icons at Risk Project Team/Steering Committee

  • Natascha Drabbe, Architectural Historian and Executive Director/Founder Iconic Houses Network, The Netherlands
  • Fiona Fisher, Curator, Dorich House Museum/Researcher, Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, United Kingdom
  • Janice Lyle, Director Sunnylands Center and Gardens, USA
  • Chandler McCoy, Senior Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute, USA