The Sixties Turn 50 | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photos by (l-r) Larry Underhill, Don Solosan

2010 marked an important milestone in the preservation of Mid-Century Modern architecture, as structures built in 1960 started to reach the ripe old age of fifty.

While turning fifty strikes fear in the hearts of many -- especially in Los Angeles -- it's actually good for important buildings, since this age is the widely accepted threshold for consideration as historic. At the same time, preserving resources from the recent past poses new challenges, both technical and philosophical.

In fall 2009, the Conservancy and our Modern Committee launched a nine-month program to celebrate Greater Los Angeles' rich legacy of 1960s architecture and explore how best to preserve it. 

The Sixties Turn 50 encompassed two architectural tours, panel discussions, partner events, a family picnic, and an online People's Choice poll of readers' favorite places from the 1960s. The resulting (and completely unofficial) Top 60 of the '60s is now a mobile app (available for iOS now and we hope, Android soon).

Did our focus on such young buildings raise some eyebrows? Of course. But it also raised some important questions that preservationists are grappling with across the country and the globe about how to ensure a future for the places of our recent past.