Madrid – New Delhi Document


The sweeping economic, social, technological and political developments of the twentieth century produced unprecedented change. Two world wars, the Cold War that followed, the Great Depression, and decolonisation, together, significantly altered the fabric of society over the course of the twentieth century. Rapid urbanisation and the growth of large cities, accelerated technological and scientific development and the emergence of mass communications and transportation fundamentally changed the way we lived and worked, producing new buildings and structures, unprecedented building types and forms, using experimental materials. Massively changed landscapes were created by industrialisation and mechanised agriculture. And yet, comparatively few of the sites and places created by such tumultuous events have been listed and protected for their heritage values. Thus, too many of the heritage places and sites of the twentieth-­‐century remain at risk. Although appreciation of mid-­‐century modernism is increasing in some regions, the range of buildings, structures, cultural landscapes and industrial sites that are characteristic of the twentieth century are still threatened by a general lack of awareness and recognition. All too often they are pressured by redevelopment, unsympathetic change, or simply by neglect.

Aware of these threats, in 2010 the members of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Twentieth-­‐Century Heritage (ISC20C) began to draft a reference text, setting out the approach and the principles that should be applied to managing and interpreting twentieth-­‐century sites and places. The ambitious objective was to provide an international benchmark.

Lively debates ensued amongst members, drawing on their pragmatic experience from all regions of the world. Conferences, meetings and broad consultations were undertaken internationally. The final text: Approaches for the Conservation of Twentieth-­‐Century Architectural Heritage, colloquially called the Madrid Document, was presented to the 17th ICOMOS General Assembly in Paris, and distributed in Spanish, French and English for comment and discussion. Between 2011-­‐2014, it was translated into more than a dozen languages including Russian, Italian, Finnish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Mandarin, Hindi, Basque and Catalan, an indication of the need for and use of such an international guidance document.

After consideration of comments received, a second edition was published in four languages at the 18th ICOMOS General Assembly in Florence, but it was clear that a major revision – and a new title ‐ was necessary to include other heritage typologies of the twentieth century, such as cultural landscapes, industrial sites and urban areas. Collaboration with the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL), the ICOMOS International Committee on Historic Towns and Villages (CIVVIH), the International Technical Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) and the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change (ISCES+CC) has successfully resulted in the incorporation of the full breadth of twentieth-­‐century heritage places and sites.

The third version, Approaches to the Conservation of Twentieth-­‐Century Cultural Heritage, was endorsed at the 19th General Assembly of ICOMOS in Delhi in December 2017, incorporating the comments and inputs received during the 2014‐17 consultation period. Thank you to all those who contributed to this process.

We encourage all who are responsible for the management and celebration of the world’s twentieth-century heritage places to make use of Approaches to the Conservation of Twentieth-Century Cultural Heritage as the international guideline and benchmark standard for conserving and managing the heritage places and sites of the twentieth century.
Sheridan Burke
President, ICOMOS ISC20C
November, 2017