Anti-Demolition Petition in Goshen

Anti-Demolition Petition in Goshen

By Kelsey Keith
It's been well-documented that architect Paul Rudolph's brutalist yet expressive aesthetic hasn't held up well to the whims of fashion. Popular in the 1960s, Rudolph completed a spate of residential and institutional works in the northeast, then expanded abroad, followed by a period of declining reputation until his death in 1997. His poured concrete shapes boggle the mind, and at this point, buildings like his 1971 Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York, are so extreme that it seems outlandish and short-sighted to consider complete demolition. And yet that is precisely what the Orange County Legislature in upstate New York is voting on this May 3rd.

True, raw concrete doesn't hold up especially well, particularly in the face of an errant 2011 hurricane named Irene. But surely the $75 million allotted for Rudolph's replacement—a faux Colonial sad sack of bureaucratic architecture—could reinvigorate the complex? 

Here's the exterior of the Paul Rudolph–designed structure.

Here's what's happening: Preservation group DOCOMOMO alerted the masses with an email blast in February, then banded with the World Monuments Fund who added Rudolph's OCGC to its annual watch list. The groups have proposed a conditions study of the building along with precise estimates for its renovation, an essential step considering the county government isn't allowing interior access to assess its condition. And this week, after a chorus of impassioned tweets and critical pleas for historic preservation, the cause has hit, where a petition is in the nascent stage of a more formalized protest.

Photo by Ty Cole.

(Finally, if you really want to torture your preservationist-bleeding-heart, check out photographer Chris Mottalini's series of demolished Rudolph homes.) 

View of interior space and pathways in the Orange County Government Center by Paul Rudolph in Goshen, NY.


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