André Lurçat-designed school in France scoops 2018 WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize

André Lurçat-designed school in France scoops 2018 WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize

The striking modernist Karl Marx Middle School by architect André Lurçat in France has just been announced as winner of the 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize. The building, which was originally inaugurated in 1933 and once described as ‘the most beautiful school in France’, was meticulously restored to its former glory by Agence Christiane Schmuckle-Mollard.

The school, which is located in the Parisian suburb of Villejuif, has been in constant use since its opening 85 years ago, and required significant maintenance and modernisation. Following its designation as a listed monument in France, the building was eligible for a healthy injection of funds, enabling the hiring of the architects for the restoration project. Their aim was to preserve the integrity of the structure, while adapting it to new regulations. 

The school is now listed as a National Historical Monument in France

At the same time as the winner’s revelation, the WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize also announced a special mention; the very first in the award’s ten-year history. This honour went to Harboe Architects, PC for their preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois. The iconic building, which was created by the great master in 1908, is considered one of Wright’s most important works and had suffered from lack of attention. The architects’ thorough research and restoration was highly commended by the jury. 

The prize, which is announced every two years, is well known for recognising architects or designers ‘who have demonstrated innovative solutions to preserve or save threatened modern architecture’. The winners will be presented with their accolade officially during a ceremony at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, on 4 December. §

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