Farewell to Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center in Gettysburg

Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center at Gettysburg National Military Park. Photo via Artinfo

After a intensive, 14-year preservation battle, the fate of Richard Neutra‘s mid-century Cyclorama Center in ’s Gettysburg National Military Park has been sealed. Yesterday, the National Park Service confirmed their plans to demolish the modernist structure and restore the site to its original 1863 appearance just in time for the 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle. It is a victory for Civil War purists and a loss for 20th century architecture advocates.

As we announced last September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia directed the park service to conduct an environmental analysis on the and to consider “non- alternatives” such as moving the structure or leaving part of it intact. Following the release of a 200-page analysis, the park confirmed that the service had “no need for the continued use of the building” and that it “conflicted with the overall goals of the park.”

More after the break…

“The site is a key portion of the Union battle line and is important to the public understanding of what happened here,” park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said. “The Cyclorama building was a disruption to that.”

The 12-ton, 27-foot-high, 377-foot-long canvas depicting Pickett’s Charge that Neutra’s concrete and glass cylindrical drum was designed for is now housed in the park’s visitor center.

The private Gettysburg Foundation will cover the $3.8 million demolition, which is scheduled to begin as early as February.

On a lighter note, the roller coaster ride Frank Lloyd Wrights’ David Wright House experienced for a good portion of last year has concluded in the preservationist’s favor. Read all about the winning verdict here.

via The Philadelphia Inquirer, ArtInfo

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Farewell to Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center in Gettysburg" 11 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=317540>
  • saltONE

    What a shame.

  • ppap

    It is sad not because we talk about a neutra’s work, but because we decide to erase the human print from a place and pretend that never happened.

  • Willard Saulsbury

    A am full of sadness.

  • Alex F

    Destroy something to preserve something else? Who gets to decide which one is more important?

    • ppap

      These decisions are not cultural, but political. We have to understand this someday.

  • Walt

    “…restore the site to its original 1863 appearance just in time for the 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle.”
    A blood drenched field with mutilated bodies? I’ll pass, I’d rather the see the optimism conveyed by the works of great architects.

  • Ioana Voica Nicolaescu

    such a lack of cultural sensibility! it’s sad and frustrating and a big loss too! :-(

  • Luke

    Thank God, the Union Battle Line will be preserved. whew…

  • Pingback: Thoughts About Midcentury Modern in Gettysburg | Barbara Campagna - True Green Cities

  • Rabid troll

    The place was an eyesore IMHO. It’s modern presence was a distraction to the site. A proper museum would be of the Victorian period.

  • Pingback: Gettysburg at 150 | The Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities