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Paul Rudolph: The Latest Architecture and News

Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center Still at Risk

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.

The Indicator: Sheltering in Place

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 / CLOG

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?

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

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...

Video: Manhattan Memorious / Reiser + Umemoto

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.

World Monuments Fund Announces 2012 Endangered Monuments Watch

Manufacturers Trust Company by SOM © Landmarks Preservation Commission
Manufacturers Trust Company by SOM © Landmarks Preservation 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.