International Conference and Workshop: Filling the Gaps: World Heritage and the 20th Century

Chandigarh, India
October 3-7, 2013


In 2005, the ICOMOS report “The World Heritage List: Filling the Gaps” highlighted the inadequate representation of modern heritage on the World Heritage List. Eight years down the line, though sensitivity to the cultural values this very large proportion of our heritage assets has been heightened to a certain extent, at the same time several expressions of critical twentieth-century processes have been lost. Seen in the context of the general lack of understanding and respect for 20C heritage properties as well as their vulnerability in the face of fast-paced urban change and development — especially in the developing countries of the Asia-Pacific — it is obvious that, in the near future, even larger numbers are at risk of demolition and irreversible alteration. The situation brings into focus the fact that we need to consider twentieth-century heritage in a more pro-active manner, and, work seriously to expand the scope of our current conservation education and practice.

Since Chandigarh – with its iconic modernist plan and architecture — is a living laboratory for examining various issues of management of 20th Century Modernist Heritage, the venue of the program is proposed as Chandigarh. The dates have also been especially chosen to include the birth anniversary of Le Corbusier on 06 October, and the 60th anniversary of Chandigarh’s inauguration on 7th October.


A major objective of this 5-day Conference & Workshop, therefore, is to promote an understanding of the significance twentieth-century heritage, not only of its physical and visual
attributes, but also its historical, cultural and social dimensions. The Program also aims to examine the scope and the challenges of managing this recent heritage within the framework of the World Heritage regime. The use of the ICOMOS ISC20C Madrid Document: “Approaches for the Conservation of Twentieth Century Architectural Heritage as Practical Guidance for Managing Change and Intervention” would be a parallel focus.


The Conference:
The Program is designed into two parts, the first half comprising of a Conference with series of keynote lectures and paper presentations on four themes representing key issues of conserving 20th Century Heritage — Evaluation, Intervention, Management of Change, and, a special focus on twentieth-century Historic Urban Landscapes. Each of these thematic sessions will be structured around an overview on the theme by an invited specialist, presentation of selected papers, as well as discussions for a rich exchange of experiences and approaches. In addition, poster displays on conference themes will enable sharing of lessons learnt in diverse territories of the twentieth-century heritage. Brief details of themes are:

Thematic Session 1: Evaluating 20th Century Heritage:
The purpose of this session is to understand and interpret the values of twentieth century heritage in diverse locations, recognizing impact of social & cultural contexts and of specific physical aspects (location, design, aesthetic, construction systems, technical equipment and use) in the development of twentieth-century structures. It would focus on systematic identification, inventories, documentation and evaluation of the physical, historical and cultural attributes of different typologies of twentieth century heritage properties.

Thematic Session 2: Intervention Methods and Approaches:
This session would address issues related to the “State of Conservation”, the assessment of vulnerabilities and risks to the fabric of twentieth-century buildings, and, the technical aspects of conserving these structures. Many twentieth-century building materials and construction techniques were new or experimental in nature, had a shorter life span and, differed considerably from traditional ones in their durability, processes of decay and technology of repair. Lack of knowledge of these characteristics, and appropriate conservation techniques, further exacerbated their condition.

Thematic Session 3: Management of Change:
Being in active contemporary use, all twentieth-century heritage properties are intrinsically dynamic entities. Interventions may be necessary due to changes in original use and for application of contemporary building codes (accessibility, health & safety requirements, seismic retrofitting, and improving energy efficiency), all of which cumulatively impact the property’s cultural significance, authenticity and integrity. Exposed to various pressures for change, redesign and reconstruction, twentieth-century properties are at risk of being destroyed or transformed beyond recognition. The objective of this session is to document various factors triggering change in twentieth-century heritage structures and to investigate appropriate tools for monitoring and managing such change.

Thematic Session 4: Historic Urban Landscapes of the 20th Century:
Increasing concern over the impact of rapid urbanization on our historic environment has brought about the need for a broader consideration of social, economic and cultural issues in urban conservation processes. The new approach is applicable to historic urban landscapes of the twentieth-century as well, since these, being largely unrecognized and unprotected, are even more susceptible to drastic transformation, fragmentation and deterioration. This session is devoted to understanding the characteristics and cultural significance of the historic urban typologies of the twentieth-century; the nature of transformations impacting their cultural, social and economic values; and, to creative approaches, criteria, guidelines and other tools for their conservation management.

Workshop on Risk Assessment & Property Management:
The second part of the Program comprises a hands-on Workshop focused on Risk Assessment & Management Issues of Le Corbusier’s Capitol Complex, the prime Modern Heritage property in Chandigarh which is already on the Tentative List, ending with presentation of proposals by participants.

ICOMOS ISC20C Workshop on Serial Nominations:
Participants would also be permitted to participate in the “Serial Nomination Workshop” proposed to be conducted by ICOMOS-ISC20C (ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage) on 02 October 2013.


Resource Persons for the Training Program and Workshop program have been drawn from different parts of the world. All are eminent experts in the field of heritage conservation, and particularly 20th century heritage.

The list includes the following:

Antoine Picon, Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology, Harvard University Graduate School of Design; President, Fondation Le Corbusier

Augusto Villalon, Conservation Architect, President ICOMOS Philippines

Bénédicte Gandini, Conservation Architect, Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris

Dinu Bumbaru, President, ICOMOS-Canada

Gunny Harboe, Conservation Architect, USA, Vice President, ICOMOS-ISC20C

Janhwij Sharma, Director (Conservation & World Heritage), Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi

Kiran Joshi, Prof. & Head, Chitkara Centre for Advanced Studies in Architecture

Kyle Normandin, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Secretary General, ICOMOS-ISC20C

Nobuko Inaba, Professor, World Heritage Studies Program, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Member of Japanese National Commission for UNESCO

Rahul Mehrotra, Principal of RMA Architects, Mumbai, and, Chair, Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Mass., USA

Rohit Jigyasu, Conservation Architect & Risk Management Consultant, UNESCO Chair, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan and President of ICOMOS-ICORP (International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness)

Sanghamitra Basu, Professor in Architecture & Urban Planning, IIT Kharagpur

Sharif Shams Imon, Conservation Architect, Director, Heritage Studies Centre at Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao; Founding Member DOCOMOMO-Macao

Sheridan Burke, Conservation Architect, Australia; President, ICOMOS-ISC20C

Shikha Jain, Director, DRONAH; Member-Secretary, Advisory Committee on World Heritage, Ministry of Culture, India

Susan Macdonald, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Vice President, ICOMOS -ISC20C

Vaishali Latkar, Conservation Architect, Professor, Singhad College of Architecture, Pune

Vikas Dilawari, Conservation Architect, Head of Conservation Department, Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture, Mumbai

Tara Sharma, Conservation Architect, New Delhi