Orange County Votes to Preserve Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center

Orange County Government Center by © New York Times – Tony Cenicola

The votes are in! Elected officials have voted 11-10 against the resolution to demolish Paul Rudolph’s iconic Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York. The long, intense debate on whether or not to keep and restore the 1970’s Brutalist building has added an immense amount of interest to an ever-growing discussion focused on the value of modern architecture.

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Poor maintenance, leaky roofs and a large flood in 2011 have caused extensive damage to the structure, leading to the abandonment of the building and Orange County Executive Ed Diana’s proposal to replace the modernist monument with this mundane neo-colonial office building, causing outraged amongst many in the architectural community.

Ed Diana insisted that proposal was based on a financial decision. However, advocates proved the restoration was in fact the cheaper option. Then, just last week, designLABarchitects stepped forward and presented this report to give an example of how a Rudolph building can be renovated successful, both physically and monetarily.

As preservationist celebrate, Ed Diana is reportedly “deeply disappointed” with the outcome. It will be interesting to see what happens next with the Orange County Government Center and the overall debate on preserving modern architecture.

Reference: Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, ArchNewsNow

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Orange County Votes to Preserve Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center" 04 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=232010>
  • Jason

    Great news!

  • Barry Hart

    Well done to those who believe we must save not only good examples of early architectural design but, also of those of the later, that way we have a complete sample of all that is good in architecture & design.

  • http://www.shankarch.com shankar

    Though good news, it begs the question as to how a modern era building just 40 years old requires major repairs and millions of dollars to keep it going while their more traditional cousins are in fair health even after a century or two. Even iconic FLW buildings are in surgery for extensive renovation. There is somethng in the modern composite material -RCC – and the form – large cantilevers, imbalanced structures – that shortens the natural lifespan of these structures.

    • John

      I’d say there are a few factors that have led to that general situation:
      - usage of new, untested materials
      - pushing materials to their limits
      - inadequate maintenance
      - budgets that may have lead to lesser material and/or construction quality