Yesterday Orange County legislators decided to “take no action” against blocking the “destructive” rebuild of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The plan, deemed by architecture critic Michael Kimmelman to be “vandalism,” will remove one of the building’s three sections and replace it with a “big, soulless glass box.”
The 44-year-old brutalist landmark has been the center of a preservation debate for years; lawmakers argue that the building is “not easy to love” and expensive to maintain, while preservationists declare the building is an important piece of modern history and blame its state of disrepair on neglect. The council vetoed an offer last summer to allow a New York architect to purchase the property and transform it into artist studios. More on the decision, and more of Matthew Carbone's images for Architect Magazine, after the break.
Although there was a “last minute effort” by some legislators to terminate the contract to rebuild, Orange County Legislative Chairman Stephen Brescia has confirmed that the city is “moving ahead and ready to go” with demolition and reconstruction. Work could begin as soon as July.
“The thing about demolition, unlike a piece of legislation or a campaign promise, is that it’s forever. It can’t be undone,” said Kimmelman in a recent interview regarding the center’s pending fate.