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 battle commenced in September 2011, when 1970’s Brutalist landmark was abandoned after poor maintenance, leaky roofs and a large flood caused extensive damage to the structure. Intensity accelerated last year after Orange County Executive Ed Diana’s proposed to replace the modernist monument with this mundane neo-colonial office building, causing outrage amongst many in the architectural community. However, Diana’s plan was short lived as Orange County elected officials voted 11-10 against the landmarks demise last May, foreshadowing what many hoped would be a less destructive outcome.
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