Decision Nears Over Fate of a Brutalist Masterpiece

Tom Stoelker reports on the impending vote on whether to demolish a Brutalist "masterwork," Paul Rudolph’s 1971 Orange County Government Center in New York, and the moves preservationists are making to try to save it.
March 14, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As difficult as many people find it to love the rough blocky appearance of Brutalist-era buildings, Rudolph's center has also been plagued by performance and maintenance issues for decades. The unevenly stacked boxes of the building have leaked since the day it opened. Now county leaders are pushing ahead with plans to replace the faltering building.

"On March 5, [Eddie] Diana, [the county's executive director] proposed a $75 million replacement of the 153,600-square-foot building in a style that would be more in keeping with the village's colonial past...But preservationists argued that closing the older buildings would sap village street life, to say nothing of county coffers," writes Stoelker. Renovation estimates for the Rudolph building presented at the same meeting were said to be inflated.

With a vote scheduled for April 5th to decide the fate of the building, which has been abandoned since last August when Hurricane Irene flooded the mechanical room, regional and international preservation agencies are boosting efforts to raise citizen awareness about its importance.

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Published on Thursday, March 8, 2012 in The Architect's Newspaper
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