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World Monuments Fund Announces 2004 Watch List

The World Monuments Fund yesterday announced its 2004 World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

The biennial list is a "call to action" on behalf of threatened cultural-heritage monuments worldwide.

Sites included on the list (which for the first time encompasses every continent) include the Nimrud and Ninevah Palaces in Iraq, St. Anne's Church in Prague, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis Brown House in California, as well as entire domains like the Panama Canal area and historic Lower Manhattan. Monuments must display an urgent need to be saved and have architectural or artistic significance. There must also be a clear vision of how to save them.

"Bringing endangered monuments to public attention can be a powerful catalyst for change," said WMF President Bonnie Burnham in a speech at the official announcement ceremony, which took place at the new Lever House restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.

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Specific buildings under watch in Lower Manhattan include the historic Corbin Building, on the site of the proposed World Trade Center transit station. Ken Lustbader, Preservation Consultant to the Lower Manhattan Preservation Fund, said the Corbin is "basically our poster child," because of its significance and imperiled status. Other buildings include the several federal buildings on Greenwich Street, the Fulton Building, and entire neighborhoods around the WTC, which he says, could be largely rebuilt as part of post 9/11revitalization plans.

"The character of the neighborhood should be appreciated and not looked at as a development site just because of the opportunity," he says.

The World Monuments Fund is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving historic, artistic, and architectural heritage. "Without our help these sites would still be floundering," said John Stubbs, WMF Vice President. "I think our record of making a difference might be increasing. Practice makes perfect, and the field is certainly maturing."

 

Sam Lubell