ISC20C History

Timeline of Development and Activity of the ICOMOS ISC20C

Author: Sheridan Burke, August 2021
Context: Modern Heritage and Conservation Timeline and Documentation

1980 - 1989

The ICOMOS network engages with Twentieth Century heritage places through national conferences, risk responses and world heritage nominations.


Docomomo established in the Netherlands to draw attention to the plight of the pioneering early modern buildings which were decaying for lack of a current use,


Council of Europe Recommendation on the Protection of the Twentieth-Century Architectural Heritagethat the governments of the member states develop strategies for the identification, study, protection, conservation, restoration and public awareness of twentieth-century architecture


C20 Society formed in Britain (from The Thirties Society, established 1979)  as a  charity campaigning for the preservation  of architectural  heritage from 1914 onward


Experts Meeting World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS in June 1994 on the Global Strategy "to move away from a purely architectural view of cultural heritage towards one which was more anthropological, multifunctional and universal"


Conference on "Preserving the Recent Past " in Chicago co-hosted by the Historic Preservation Education Foundation and the National Park Service, April, the first national conference to examine the evaluation and preservation of C20th  resources.

ICOMOS Seminar on 20th-century Heritage in Helsinki June 1995. ICOMOS Finland, UNESCO/World Heritage Centre and of ICCROM


ICOMOS Seminar of Experts on 20th Heritage, 10-13 June 1996, Mexico City, Mexico explored and deepens the perspectives and the contribution of America -The United States, Canada, The Caribbean and Latin America.


ICOMOS commissions Docomomo to report on  the Modern Movement and the World Heritage List testing & application of WHL criteria to buildings and sites of the Modern Movement. Report identifies 4 architects oeuvres and a worldwide selection of about 20 modern buildings, sites or ensembles that may be of "outstanding universal value".


2001 - 2005

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre with ICOMOS and Docomomo launch a joint program for the identification, documentation and promotion of the built heritage of the 19th and 20th centuries, publishing Identification and Documentation of Modern Heritage, (World Heritage Papers No 5)  Regional meetings held in 2002 in Monterrey (Mexico); in 2003 in Chandigarh (India); in 2004 in Asmara (Eritrea) and in Miami Beach and Coral Gables, USA; in 2005 in Alexandrina in Egypt.


The Istanbul Declaration signed by the European Committees of ICOMOS and Docomomo, confirming regional co-operation


The ICOMOS report “The World Heritage List: Filling the Gaps”, highlighted the inadequate representation of modern heritage on the World Heritage list—only a dozen of the over 700 places then listed were identified as modern heritage


International Conference Heritage at Risk Preservation of 20th-Century Architecture and World Heritage Moscow Declaration issued by ISC20C with UIA and Docomomo


UIA XXth Century Architectural Heritage Register in development



The Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) program of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) launched to advance the practice of conserving twentieth-century heritage, with a focus on modern architecture, through research and investigation, the development of practical conservation solutions, and the creation and distribution of information through training programs and publications



  • ISC20C finalizes the revision of the Madrid Document and publishes its replacement-  the Madrid New Delhi Document: Approaches to the Conservation of Twentieth Century Cultural Heritage   at the 19th General Assembly of ICOMOS in New Delhi  resolved to “Endorse and promote the use and distribution of the 2017 Approaches for the Conservation of Twentieth-Century Heritage by ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees, as a fundamental international document to guide the conservation of all Twentieth-century heritage sites and places”.
  • World Heritage and Modern Heritage  World Heritage # 85, published by World Heritage Centre UNESCO


ICOMOS Germany conference Rethinking Modernity


Preserving the Recent Past 3 conference, Los Angeles


Getty Conservation Institute with ISC20C publish the  Twentieth Century Historic Thematic Framework  - A tool for assessing heritage places.