International Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage 

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Download ISC20C Heritage Alert Template Here

ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage 


The ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Twentieth Century Heritage (ISC20C) was established in 2005 to lead and sustain this area of ICOMOS activity conservation practice. The ISC20C deals with issues impacting Twentieth century heritage places arising from:   Lack of recognition of their significance, promotion and celebration;  Specific construction technology and materials;        Particularity of original  design ideas and social contexts;       Management and development pressures and      Neglectand aims to encourage the sustainability and survival of Twentieth Century heritage places. Twentieth Century Heritage places include buildings, structures, urban ensembles and plans, cultural landscapes, industrial and historic archaeology, tangible and intangible values. The Heritage Alert process uses the ISC20C’s professional and public networks to promote the conservation of Twentieth Century Heritage and draw attention to the threats which it confronts and to promote good conservation solutions. The Committee recognizes that publicizing and defining such matters requires a high degree of responsibility. The assessment of situations leading to a Heritage Alert being issued by ICOMOS ISC20C will therefore be pursued with ethical rigor and accuracy. The Committee is by its nature is multi-disciplinary, with expert members worldwide. 

The Heritage Alert objectives

The Committee regularly receives requests from affinity groups and the public for letters supporting efforts to conserve or protect Twentieth Century Heritage properties which are under threat. To ensure the reputation and international credibility of the ISC20C Heritage Alert response, a formal process has been established that will confirm that the heritage significance and threat is well understood before an ISC20C Heritage Alert is issued. A template outlining the information needed to prepare a Heritage Alert is attached and available for download on the ISC20C website. The ICOMOS ISC20C Heritage Alert project aims to:
1.       Use the expertise of  the members of the ISC20C committee and relevant national ICOMOS committee to assess the significance of and threats to a property indicated to be at risk;
2.       Confirm the facts of the threat and the heritage significance of the property;
3.       Alert the public to the significance and threat to the property at risk using ICOMOS networks to publicise the situation;
4.       Selectively act to support the conservation of the property at risk;
5.       Maintain a list of properties at risk and follow the results of any conservation action for future analysis and
6.       Provide input to the ICOMOS Heritage at Risk Report.
The ICOMOS Heritage Alert system will be compatible with similar programs currently promoted by other conservation non-profit organizations and NGOs. The opportunity to disseminate information through the networks of partner organizations such as UAI, Docomomo and TICCIH gives further scope for publicity, and adds mutual responsibility for the accuracy of the Heritage Alert assessment.

ISC20C Heritage Alert Advocacy Sub-Committee
A small Advocacy Sub-Committee has been established within the ISC20C to handle requests for Heritage Alert action. The committee is established on an annual rotation, renewable. It consists of two committee members, the ISC20C Secretary General, the ISC20C president (or nominee) and includes an ICOMOS member who has been involved in a recent Heritage Alert. 

Heritage Alert Process
A five step process includes broad but fast consultation by the Advocacy sub-committee.
1. Preliminary Assessment: When a proposal for an alert is received, it is distributed to all sub-committee members for an initial confirmation that the case is of international or national significance. If so, the Advocacy sub-committee chair (or acting chair), forwards the Heritage Alert template to the proposer.  and immediately invites comment and advice from the relevant national committee of ICOMOS. The ICOMOS Secretary General is advised of the issuing of a Heritage Alert template. Affiliated organizations such as Docomomo, TICCIH or UIA may also be advised and invited to investigate or take action, such as joint support letters.
2. Advocacy Sub-committee recommendation: The sub-committee Chair will receive the final template and associated documentation from the proposer Additional or comparative material may be requested. The sub-committee will aim to assess and recommend on the Alert request by email within five business days whenever possible and recommend action to the ISC20C president whose decisions are final. The ICOMOS Secretary General and relevant ICOMOS National committee will be consulted regarding the proposed actions by the ISC20C President.
3. ISC20C Action: The ISC20C Secretary General will prepare the necessary public documentation ISC20C letters and media briefing material in consultation with the ICOMOS National Committee and ISC 20C President.
4.  ICOMOS Action: The ICOMOS Secretariat in Paris will facilitate the Heritage Alert being electronically forwarded to all ICOMOS members. ISC20C will prepare any letters required, including the addresses, and they will be disseminated on ICOMOS letterhead by the ICOMOS Secretary General.
5. Website Action: The Heritage Alert template and associated documentation will be uploaded on the ISC20C Website by the ISC20C Secretary General.

Assessing proposals for Heritage Alert
1. ASSESSMENT CRITERIA: The ISC20C Advocacy sub-committee will respect established national and international guidelines for the significance assessment of heritage through analysis of history, fabric, form, function, use and design intent. The committee recognizes that it is important to conserve not just building fabric, form and function, but the ideas and philosophies behind a building, structure or landscape and its use. The committee may need to request and assess additional materials that rely on original research. Other critical information needed may include comparative knowledge of other similar or associated places.
2. SCALE OF INVOLVEMENT: ICOMOS, as an international organization will generally respond only to requests of international/national urgency and forward other requests to national and local heritage organizations for action. Decisions as to when a Heritage Alert will be accompanied by official correspondence from ICOMOS to relevant national authorities, or indeed an ICOMOS conservation campaign will be resolved between the ISC20C President, the national committee ICOMOS President and the ICOMOS Secretary General.
3. TEMPLATE: The Heritage Alert assessment template will regularly updated , kept simple and the response methodology streamlined to ensure active and timely participation from the ISC20C Advocacy sub-Committee, since most members are working on a volunteer basis and have a limited capacity to respond to requests. The template is available for download below.
4. ICOMOS WIDE SCOPE: The Heritage Alert system may well be useful to other ICOMOS national or scientific Committees and indeed to ICOMOS generally.
5. ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONS: Ongoing relationships with cooperating international organizations running similar “heritage at risk” programs are always carefully considered to ensure that the ICOMOS Heritage Alerts are both timely and effective. Cooperating organizations include the International Working Party for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement (DOCOMOMO), The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH), and the International Union of Architects (UIA).


President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Twentieth Century Heritage

Email. SheridanB@gml.com.au

August 2015

Y-Block Government Buildings, Oslo, Norway

Y-Block Government Buildings, Oslo, Norway
Heritage ALERT !

September 28, 2016

OThe International sacientific Committee on Twentieth Century Heritage (ISC20C) of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has released an International Heritage Alert regarding the threatened demolition of the Y-block of the Government Quarter in Oslo, Norway.  This action supports the conservation initiatives of ICOMOS Norway and confirms international concern about threats to the heritage sigificance of this important modern heritage complex in the center of Oslo.

ICOMOS Norway has undertaken extensive research into this case, and confirms that the architectural and artistic merit of the Y-block, as well as its historical significance, is uncontested.  Architect Erling Viksjø conceived the high-rise H-block and the lower Y-block as whole, clearly connected to similar contemporary headquarters for democratic purposes (e.g. United Nations, New York and UNESCO, Paris). The high-rise H-block was erected in 1958 with pioneering treatment of the sandblasted natural concrete and integrated wors by merited modernist artists, including contributions by Pablo Picasso.  In 1969, the building complex was completed by the addition of the sculptural Y-block.  Its three curved wings define three urban spaces of individual character.  Picasso's "Fishermen" in one of the facades is an epitome of public art integrated within this extraordinary complex.

Download Press Release Y-Block

Download Heritage Alert Y-Block

Download Letter of Appeal to Norwegian Government

Izumo Shrine, Shimane, Japan

The Administration Building at the Izumo Shrine, Shimane, Japan
Heritage ALERT !

September 9, 2016

One of the leading International organizations for the protection of 20th Century Cultural Heritage, the International Council on monuments and Site International Scientific Committee on Twentieth Century heritage (ICOMOS ISC20C), has expressed its concern about the alarming situation now facing the Administration Building at the Izumo Shrine, in Shimane, Japan.

The ICOMOS ISC20C believes that a solution to the Shrine Administration building's problem could also be found if given further expert assessment.  The committee has strongly encouraged Shrine authorities to seek a positive conservation outcome for this item of Japan's modern heritage. The enduring architectural significance of the building has also been recognized by heritage authorities such as Docomomo Japan, which in 2005, identified the Administration Building of the Great Shring of Izumo as one of the 100 most important buildings representing modern architecture in Japan.  The architectural and artistic merit of the building, as well as its historical significance is uncontested, however the building has not yet been well documented.  The ICOMOS ISC20C has asked that the Shrine seek an improved technical solution to the problem that would allow the building to remain and continue in a useful purpose for the Shrine.

Download PRESS RELEASE Here (Japanese)

Download PRESS RELEASE Here (English)

Download Letter of Appeal to (Rev.) Takamasa Senge March 15 2016

Download Letter of Appeal by Society of Architectural Historians

Download Letter of Appeal Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Download Letter of Appeal Mexican 20th Century Committee for Modern Architecture

Download Letter of Appeal ICOMOS Mexico

International Congress Center (ICC) Berlin

International Congress Center (ICC), Berlin, Germany


September 12, 2015

The ICC Berlin is a landmark of former West Berlin. Its relevance has long been accepted by the scientific community in Germany. Important institutions (the Architectural Association of Berlin, the Bund Heimat und Umwelt in Deutschland, the Monument Council of Berlin, the Association of Conservationists in Germany) have argued publicly for the listing of the ICC.

Based on these regional and national activities ICOMOS expressed the international appreciation by adopting a resolution at the General Assembly of ICOMOS in Florence in November 2014. The basis of this resolution was a 17-page ICOMOS Heritage Alert prepared by ICOMOS Germany. It consists of a detailed description that, similar to a justification for listing, addresses all major aspects of the building and its monument value: From its historic value as testimony to the Cold War to the largely authentic state of conservation, the Heritage Alert characterises the building’s architectural-historical value and also names the organisations supporting the Alert. The resolution sums up the central points of the Alert.

By referring to earlier initiatives to save heritage of the 20th century, it emphasises the international relevance of the ICC. Furthermore, it calls for the listing of this building and its use as a cultural and conference centre. In a letter (to which the resolution is attached) sent to the Governing Mayor of Berlin in January 2015 the President of ICOMOS International offered “to support you in the safeguarding of this historic property of European significance”.


Kerstin Wittmann-Englert, ICOMOS Germany, ICOMOS ISC20C,email: kerstin.wittmann-englert@tu-berlin.de 

ICC Berlin Press Relase September 2015

ICOMOS ICC Berlin Draft Resolution 2014

ICOMOS Heritage Alert ICC Berlin 2015

ICOMOS ISC20C Letter of Appeal to Mayor of Berlin September 2015

BPO Monument Building, Montgemont, France

BPO's Monument Building in Montgemont, France


July 27, 2015

The BPO's building in Montgemont, an iconic piece of contemporary architecture and an exceptional construction in Rennes' countryside, is now being seriously threated by a demolition permit.

It is time to act and react.  At stake is the urgent need to save a major building of the 20th century.

Conceived by architects Odile Decq and Benoit Cornette, the BPO's building brought international recognication to its authors with a Golden Lion at the Venice Bienale in 1996.  Their innovative approach of mixing architecture, engineering and industry in search of a new spatiality was highly acclaimed at the time.  Technically exceptional with its architectural experimentations, the BPO's building embodies the "high tech" movement at the same level as the HSBC Tower in Hong Kong or the Lloyd's Headquarters in London.  With its suspended double glazing facades, the BPO's Building represents an exceptional collaboration between architects and engineers.  Peter RIce's team within RFR found, in Rennes' countryside, an experimental playground like no other, just after the Villette's glass house project.

The Rise of such a piece of art in the French landscape, so rich in details, was a real historic event by itw way of totally renewing the tertiary architecture language and standing out as an alternative to the banality of filling up suburban zone with boxes of no architecture interest. Unfortunately, the BPO's building is not an isolated case.  For some time now, several major buildings, from moder to contemporary history, are in real danger and are victims of financial analysis and economic profits.  Yet, those buildings are most often reusable.  In the BPO's case, this is obvious when you consider its 7 hectares and their incredible potential.  So why demolish it ?  Why not reflect on its reusability instead ?  

An international emergency has been launched into a call for action - it is critical to save this building from is promised demolition, and by extension, arise the issue of the conservation of this 20th century icon, which is different from the usual patrimonial sites, but nonetheless precious to conserve. 


Isabelle Palmi, Director -  ICOMOS France, ICOMOS ISC20C,email: i.palmi@icomosfrance.fr

Heritage Alert - BPO's Monument Building in Montgemont

Heritage Alert Appendix - BPO's Monument Building in Montgemont

Shukhov Radio Tower, Moscow, Russia

Shukhov Tower, Moscow, Russia


March 16, 2014

One of the leading International organizations for the protection of 20th Century Cultural Heritage – the International Council on Monuments and Sites International Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage (ICOMOS ISC20C) and the International Scientific Committee on the Analysis and Restoration of Structures of Architectural Heritage (ISCARSH), wishes to express its concern regarding the alarming situation now facing the future of Shukhov Radio Tower, designed by Vladimir Shukhov in 1919-1922, in Moscow, Russia.  The unique structure is a globally famous masterpiece of the 20th Century, showcasing Russian engineering skills and architecture, yet it is threated with dismantling and removal.

The ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Twentieth Century Heritage and the International Scientific Committee on the Analysis and Restoration of Structures of Architectural Heritage have written to the Hon. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, requesting that authorities take direct steps to prevent further neglect and stagnation of this uniquely Russian resource of the Twentieth Century. We are concerned that the Ministry of Communication's proposed dismantling and removal of the tower will lead to a fatal loss of its authenticity and integrity.  We believe that thorough investigation on the basis of international experience would lead to an elaboration of a full-scale restoration project, which will bring benefit to Russia and world culture.

We note that the Shukhov Tower is an official monument of Regional significance, used by the 'Russian TV and Radio Systems' (RTRS) and the Russian Ministry of Communication.  The idea to reerect the Radio Tower in a different place in Moscow (being in its nature an immoveable property), contradicts the purpose of its dedication as a 'monument' under the National heritage legislation, and it also endangers its internationally important heritage values.

We note that the Shukhov Tower has been recommended for inclusion in Russia's tentative World Heritage in 'Moscow Declaration on the Preservation of 20th Century Cultural Heritage', 2006.

CONTACT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: isc20c@icomos-isc20c.org

Sheridan Burke, President, ICOMOS ISC20C, SheridanB@gml.com.au

Gunny Harboe, Chair, ICOMOS ISC20C Heritage Alerts sub-committeegunny@harboearch.com

Stephen Kelley, President, ICOMOS ISCARSAH, skelley@wje.com


ICOMOS ISC20C ISCARSAH Letter of Appeal to Russian Federation March 16, 2014

ICOMOS ISC20C Madrid Document Russian

Docomomo Letter of Appeal March 2014


Melnikov House, Moscow, Russia

Heritage Alert

April 2, 2013


The globally known masterpiece of the Russian architectural Avant-garde the Melnikov House built by Konstantin Melnikov in 1927-1929 is under threat of serious damage to its structural stability and historic fabric due to the on-going lack of conservation treatment and the immediate threat now posed by the proposed development on an adjacent site, which endangers the house’s internationally important heritage values.

The leading International organizations for heritage protection of the 20th Century Heritage have expressed their intense concern about the alarming situation now facing the future of the Melnikov House in Moscow to the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites Twentieth Century International Scientific Committee (ICOMOS ISC20C) together with the International Working Party for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement (Docomomo) and the International Union of Architects (UIA) have written also to the Mayor of Moscow Mr. Sergei Sobyanin and to Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, about the case.

This globally known masterpiece of the Russian architectural Avant-garde built by Konstantin Melnikov in 1927-1929 is under threat of serious damage to its structural stability and historic fabric. “This is due to the on-going lack of conservation action and the immediate threat now posed by development adjacent, which endangers this internationally important heritage building”, said the Australian President of the ICOMOS ISC20C, Ms Sheridan Burke.“The eyes of the world are on Russia in this important case, and we must now appeal directly to the President for intervention”, said Ms Ana Tostoes, the Portuguese President of Docomomo International. “We believe that the outstanding heritage significance of Melnikov’s work is at serious risk of damage”, added the French President of the UIA, Mr Albert Dubler. There is an urgent need for a clear conservation-based strategy to be developed by Russian authorities to direct the future conservation and management of this uniquely Russian contribution to global architectural heritage.


Sheridan Burke, Australia, President ICOMOS ISC20C 

Gunny Harboe, USA Chair, ICOMOS ISC20C Heritage Alerts sub-committee, email: Gunny@harboearch.com

See link to the publication of all documents on the Melnikov House Heritage Alert on the Russian net:  

ICOMOS ISC20C Melnikov Press Release, April 2, 2013

ICOMOS ISC20C Melnikov Heritage Alert

ICOMOS Letter of Appeal to Russian Federation

International Appeal on Works of Konstantin Melnikov


West Wing, Central Government Offices on Government Hill, Hong Kong SAR, Built 1959

Heritage Alert

June 13, 2012


The International Scientific Committee on Twentieth Century Heritage (ISC20C) of the International Council on Monuments and Site (ICOMOS) has released a Heritage Alert regarding the threated demolition of the West Wing of the Central Government Offices (CGO) in Hong Kong, China. 

Built in the late 1950s, the Central Government Office is a significant architectural component of the Government Hill historic precinct and the ICOMOS ISC20C is requesting that the government of the Hong Kong SAR urgently reconsider the currently proposed redevelopment for the site that would build a new 32 story tower where the West Wing of the CGO stands currently.

The ISC20C feels that a strong case can be made for the architectural and historic values of the CGO as a whole equally meeting the criteria for heritage listing, within a Special Protected Zone.  Recent research on the architectural history of the West Wing suggests that its importance as a integral component of the group needs further consideration in the adaptive re-use of the government precinct.  The preparation of a Conservation Management Plan, including a thorough examination of reuse options for the entire complex is needed to inform any decision on the future redevelopment of the site.

The Heritage Alert process uses the ICOMOS ISC20C’s international professional and public networks to investigate requests for international action where potentially significant heritage places are threatened, by using external experts to assess research and comparative values, in order to achieve a rigorous, independent assessment of the situation.

In cases such as the CGO, where the heritage values of all three buildings are well-proven, a Heritage Alert can be used to draw international attention to the threat and to promote good conservation solutions.  The Heritage Alert will be uploaded to the ISC20C website and distributed through the networks of ICOMOS, DOCOMOMO International, and the International Union of Architects.  It will be updated as further information comes to hand.  The Heritage Alert review was undertaken by ISC20C members from Sweden, South Africa, the USA and Australia, who engaged with local citizens and reviewed the documentary evidence.

Beside the architectural and heritage loss, the demolition of the West Wing of the CGO would be seen as a sign of departure from the widely acknowledged commitment of China to the protection and long-term conservation of its cultural heritage and historic sites of all periods, be they ancient or modern. We urge the SAR government to suspend the current proposal and to engage in a process to ensure that the heritage significance of the Central Government Office complex as a whole, including the West Wing, is retained as one of Hong Kong’s landmarks of 20th Century architecture in its historic precinct setting of Government Hill. For more information, please visit: www.governmenthill.org

CONTACT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:  isc20c@icomos-isc20c.org

Sheridan Burke, Australia, President ICOMOS ISC20C

Gunny Harboe, USA Chair, ICOMOS ISC20C Heritage Alerts sub-committee


VIDEO PRESS RELEASE by President ISC20C, Ms Sheridan Burke, regarding West Wing of the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong

ICOMOS ISC20C Hong Kong CGO Press Release

ICOMOS Heritage Alert CGO Hong Kong 12 June 2012

ICOMOS DOCOMOMO UIA Letter of Appeal June 2012

ICOMOS ISC20C reply regarding CGO Hong Kong 17 August 2012

ICOMOS ISC20C reply regarding CGO West Wing 13 November 2012


Stockholm City Library, Stockholm, Sweden, Built 1928

Heritage Alert

September 2009


In 2007, the winning design of an architectural competition for an extension to the Gunnar Asplund designed Stockholm City Library was announced.  The heritage significance of the library building and its annexes are theoretically protected by a range of Swedish laws, but it is considered that the winning design would have serious adverse impacts on the heritage of the Asplund Library complex.

The proposed size of the new buildings would overwhelm the library and the original monumental main entrance would loose its function, thereby diminishing the power of Asplund's original design.  The proposed demolition of the three annexes would destroy the overall experience of the site as originally planned and designed by Asplund.

The heritage values of this site, and the international importance of the work of Gunnar Asplund requires careful and comprehensive reconsideration of the proposal to avoid such impacts.

The presidents of ICOMOS, the International Union of Architects, DOCOMOMO International and the ICOMOS ISC20C have jointly requested that the Mayor of the City of Stockholm urgently reconsider the project to avoid any adverse heritage impacts, and to resolve a more acceptable design solution in heritage terms.

Save Stockholm City Library Appeal

ICOMOS ISC20C Asplund Heritage Alert

ICOMOS ISC20C Asplund Letter of Appeal