After a intensive, 14-year preservation battle, the fate of Richard Neutra‘s mid-century Cyclorama Center in Pennsylvania’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 demolition and to consider “non-demolition 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.