Preservationists Lose Battle to Save Orange County Government Center

© Matthew Carbone for Architect Magazine

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.

Michael Kimmelman Discusses The Importance Of Advocacy In Architectural Criticism

Michael Kimmelman. Image © Matej Stransky

In an interview with Erika Allen for , Michael Kimmelman discusses “architecture criticism and the dangers of demolition.” Kimmelman, the NYT’s architecture critic, has built a reputation as someone who advocates for buildings under threat, his most well known “fight” being against renovation plans drawn up by Foster + Partners for the New York Public Library in Manhattan. Referencing his latest column, in which he shows support for the threatened Orange County Government Centre, Kimmelman elaborates on his critical position and why he believes that speaking out for buildings at risk is ”necessary.”

Fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center to be Decided Tomorrow

by Paul Rudolph © New York Times - Tony Cenicola

Tomorrow legislators are due to decided the fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The midcentury icon, listed on the World Monuments Fund’s global watch list, has been the center of a prolonged debate challenging its right to be preserved. 

“The plan is to gut Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center, strip away much of its distinctive, corrugated concrete and glass exterior and demolish one of its three pavilions, replacing it with a big, soulless glass box,” says architecture critic . “[The legislators] can do the right thing Thursday. They can overturn the veto and reconsider demolition.” More on Kimmelman’s call to save the Rudolph landmark, here

Fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center Remains In Question

by Paul Rudolph. Image © New York Times – Tony Cenicola

The latest in the debate over Paul Rudolph’s controversial Orange County Government Center, Michael Kimmelman of  stresses the importance of its survival in “A Chance to Salvage a Master’s Creation.” The much debated plan for the now monumental structure would alter much of its existing character, whether by removal or replacement. Kimmelman argues that despite the criticism the Government Center has garnered from some, Orange County should reconsider architect Gene Kaufman’s alternate proposal which would keep the structure intact and would restore it to its former glory.

Architect Offers to Buy Paul Rudolph’s Endangered Government Center

© Flickr CC User Joseph A.

Paul Rudolph’s threatened Orange County Government Center has new hope. According to a report by Architectural Record, New York City architect Gene Kaufman has offered to purchase the building and transform it into artist studios, though under one condition: Kaufman’s practice Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman must be commissioned to design the city’s new government building adjacent to the brutalist landmark. This news comes a week after an 18-3 vote secured plans to restore a portion of Rudolph’s building and return it to its former use. 

Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center Still at Risk

Orange County Government Center by © – Tony Cenicola

Despite a 15-6 Legislature vote in February that ruled in favor of preserving Paul Rudolph’s brutalist landmark in Goshen, reports indicate that demolition is still being considered as an option. According to the Times Herald-Record, an ad hoc panel led by pro-demolition County Executive Ed Diana selected a team of architects and engineers to develop three options in 90 days for “renovating and replacing” sections of the 43-year-old complex. Though many thought the 18-month-long campaign ended with February’s ruling, it is apparent that the heated debate is far from over. Ultimately, lawmakers must vote again on the project to authorize bonding for construction.

Preservationists Prevail: Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist Landmark Spared from Destruction

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

Although preservationists continue to mourn the seemingly inevitable demise of Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, a solid victory for Brutalism has finally been confirmed. Lawmakers in Goshen, New York, have passed a proposal to renovate Paul Rudolph’s iconic Orange County Government Center, authorizing $10 million in design funding. The 15-6 vote was secured by the overwhelming evidence that an upgrade would be more cost effect than County Executive Ed Diana’s fallback plan to replace two-thirds of the building and preserving only the court section. In addition, lawmakers felt the pressure of a March 12 deadline that would risk losing up to $2.7 million in federal funds to repair water damage caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

More after the break…

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.

Continue reading for more.

Sign this Petition and Help Save Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center

by Paul Rudolph © Times - Tony Cenicola

Many of you may already be aware that Paul Rudolph’s iconic Orange County Government Center is at risk of being demolished. Leaky roofs and a damaging flood have convinced Orange Country executive director Eddie Diana to favor this dreadfully mundane neo-colonial office building over Rudolph’s Brutalist landmark. Cost is not an issue, as the price tag for the new building exceeds the cost to renovate the historical icon, and many understand the immense cultural value of preserving a legacy; however, this battle is nearing a loss and only solidarity will save it.

The World Monuments Fund (WMF) has launched a petition to oppose the demolition. With the Orange County Legislature deciding the fate of Rudolph’s building next month (May 3), it is important you sign the petition now. WMF needs to collect 20,000 signatures. Sign the petition here.

Paul Rudolph’s Masterpiece at Risk

Orange County Government Center by Paul Rudolph © - Tony Cenicola

Considered one of Paul Rudolph’s greatest achievements, the 1970’s Orange County Government Center is an icon of the late modernist era. Poor maintenance has lead to deterioration and in September a large flood caused extensive damage to the structure, forcing county officials to close the center. Since then, the county government has been calling for the building to be demolished. Last week, Orange County Executive Ed Diana proposed to replace the cultural icon with a $75 million, 175,000 square-foot mediocre building, offering only 22,000 square-feet of space more than the existing building. With renovation estimates around $67.2 million, or $40.9 million for a “less extensive upgrade”, the architectural and preservationist communities are outraged. Continue reading for more. 

World Monuments Fund Announces 2012 Endangered Monuments Watch

Manufacturers Trust Company by SOM © Landmarks Commission

The World Monuments Fund calls for international awareness to the 2012 list of endangered monuments. The watch encompasses 67 threatened cultural-heritage sites worldwide. These influential landmarks include the iconic Manufacturers Trust Company Building in New York City designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York.

Continue reading after the break.

AD Classics: Orange County Government Center / Paul Rudolph

©New York Times- Tony Cenicola

Famous on all ends of the architectural spectrum, the takes ‘s fundamental ideas of the houses he designed decades before to a much larger scale. This fascinating architectural structure was built to be the office and government of Orange County in New York, containing everything from records to a Department of Motor Vehicles for the state.

The obviously brutalist style was infused with Rudolph’s interest in “working with Mies Van Der Rohe’s concept of implied space.”

More on the Orange County Government Center after the break.