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.
Last Sunday James S. Russell, architecture critic for Bloomberg News and a former editor for Architectural Record, mused on his personal blog about the possible influence Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist University of Massachusetts campus in Dartmouth may have had on Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two Boston Marathon bombers who was also a student there.
Mr. Russell describes the campus as “a gigantic eerie, dozen-building concoction of grim ribbed-concrete hubris….” This is the sort of description that drives right to the heart of urban alienation. It’s Edvard Munch’s The Scream. This ability to sum up and drive the nail home is one reason he is the architecture critic for Bloomberg News. No side-stepping here.
Brutalism. It’s the architecture movement that the public loves to hate, and architects dare to love. It’s also the latest topic tackled by CLOG, the quirky publication that takes a long slow look at what’s important in architecture now.
While Brutalism, a movement that reached its height in the 60s, may not seem a timely topic, nothing could be further from the truth. With Brutalism’s monolithic beasts reaching their not-so-golden golden years, the question to re-model (often prohibitively expensive, considering these projects’ complexity) or just demolish (as the public often begs for) is an urgent one – as the recent preservation debates over Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Building (successful) and Bertrand Goldberg‘s Prentice Women’s Hospital (not) reveal.
However, while this edition of CLOG of course mentions these debates, Brutalism shines in exploring the bigger questions these debates provoke: Why is Brutalism so loathed? What is it, really? And – can Brutalism be saved? Should it be?
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…
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.
From the “starchitect” to “architecture for the 99%,” we are witnessing a shift of focus in the field of architecture. However, it’s in the education system where these ideas really take root and grow. This sea change inspired us to explore past movements, influenced by economic shifts, war and the introduction of new technologies, and take a closer look at the bauhaus movement.
Often associated with being anti-industrial, the Arts and Crafts Movement had dominated the field before the start of the Bauhaus in 1919. The Bauhaus’ focus was to merge design with industry, providing well designed products for the many.
The Bauhaus not only impacted design and architecture on an international level, but also revolutionized the way design schools conceptualize education as a means of imparting an integrated design approach where form follows function.
Created by Reiser + Umemoto for the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale, “Manhattan Memorious” explores what Manhattan could have been. The film visualizes several unrealized projects from Manhattan, including Buckminster Fuller’s dome over Midtown, Rem Koolhaas’ City of the Captive Globe, RUR’s East River Corridor, Paul Rudolph’s Eastside Redevelopment Corridor, Morphosis’ West Side Yard and others.
Jesse Reiser, Principal of Reiser + Umemoto, explains; “Before a city becomes a thing of steel, concrete and glass it is a theater of visions in conflict. As a city ages, the visions do not die but come up against the physical and ideological resistance of the place and its people. The city we see today is the direct result of radical visions, gradually changing the way the future is realized. This is an account of a Manhattan that could have been – might have been. A phantasmagorical Manhattan where the visionary meets the everyday – the absurd and the sublime. The island as we know it is but a pale reflection of a city designed by visionaries – a city of mad, incongruous utopias.”
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.
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.
Thanks to our readers’ help like, Jonathan Choe, we bring you an Architecture City Guide to Singapore. The city’s “recent prosperity and extremely dense urban situation has lead to a wealth of incredible architecture from architects around the world,” says Choe. Today we bring you only 12 buildings as a starting point. Please leave some of your favorites in the comment section below as we intend to expand it in the near future.