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Endangered Buildings Follow-Ups: Helsinki’s Guggenheim & Goshen’s Government Center

I’ll bet those two locales won’t find themselves in the same headline ever again!

In breaking news (relayed to me by Finnish journalist colleagues), the Helsinki City Board voted today 8 to 7, largely along party lines, against the proposed Guggenheim Helsinki. The board’s approval was required before the project could be voted upon by the City Council.

Does this sink the Helsinki project? Here’s the official comment from Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, sent in response to my query:

When the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was invited to conduct the concept and development study, we accepted the commission in the belief that Helsinki offers many exciting possibilities. Over the course of a year, our team confirmed this initial premise, concluding that a Guggenheim museum would contribute significantly to Helsinki’s cultural landscape.

We would have liked to develop the idea for the museum one step further, through an international open architectural competition, but as we emphasized from the start, our study had no predetermined outcome. All the same, we remain committed to the possibility of being in Helsinki.

And in breaking Goshen news: Paul Goldberger, the newly anointed architecture critic for Vanity Fair, jumped with both feet on the Save-Goshen’s-Rudolph bandwagon with an opinion piece that the magazine today posted online (just in time to be invoked at tomorrow’s county legislature meeting on the propsal to demolish the Paul Rudolph-designed Orange County Government Center, replacing it with what Goldberger calls “a bland, pseudo-Georgian building, a sort of blown-up version of a Friendly’s ice-cream store.” (Actually, I’m not sure that the prototype photo displayed by County Executive Ed Diana is the final word on what the new center would actually look like.)

Goldberger’s kicker:

It remains to be seen whether Orange County chooses to follow those who have thoughtlessly demolished Rudolph’s challenging buildings or those who have shown that, with care and intelligence, they can be made livable again.

Actually, this “remains to be seen” tomorrow—3:30 p.m., Emergency Services Center Building, 22 Wells Farm Rd., Goshen, NY. If all goes according to plan, public comment will be heard. It looks like public comment and the consideration of a bond proposal for the replacement building are at the top of tomorrow’s agenda. And here’s the draft of the bonding resolution.

Hey Goldberger! Road trip?

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