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Goshen Commotion (not again!): Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center Remains Imperiled


The Paul Rudolph-designed Orange County Government Center
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

Even after the county legislature had voted in favor of renovating, rather than demolishing, the Paul Rudolph-designed Orange County Government Center in Goshen, NY, there were those who believed that the rescue of this distinctive building was still not a done deal.

They were right.

Chris Mckenna of Orange County’s Times Herald-Record now reports:

Demolition is back in play, despite a 15-6 Legislature vote in February to renovate all three buildings in the 43-year-old complex.

[County Executive Ed] Diana‘s Public Works Department has since broadened the design scope to encompass three potential plans, including a scaled-back concept Diana embraced after losing his bid for an entirely new complex last year. His fallback plan is to renovate the court section of the Government Center and tear down and replace the rest of it [emphasis added].

Democrats, who have supported renovations [my link, not his] over new construction, are fuming about the reopening of a debate they thought had ended.

The World Monuments Fund, which had put the OCGC on its 2012 Watch List of endangered buildings and sites and had dispatched a representative to testify at a county legislature hearing in Goshen, was lulled into complacency by the anti-demolition vote and reported this on its website:

An 18-month-long campaign to save the building ended in February 2013 when legislators in Orange County voted to authorize $10 million to begin restoration.

The ending of that campaign now seems premature. It’s time for the WMF and local advocates of preservation and cost effectiveness to reactivate their demolition opposition and reenergize the online petition that had collected more than 2,000 signatures to save the Rudolph, which the WMF described as one of Brutalist American architect‘s “greatest achievements.”

It appears that County Executive Diana didn’t quite get that message the first time around.

Speaking of getting messages, CultureGrrl‘s “Contact me” link has recently been nonfunctional again, but is now (I hope) working. If you’ve been desperately trying to reach me with hot story tips, exciting writing assignments, intriguing speaking engagements and opportunities to strike it rich in the Microsoft Iberica Email Lottery (I’m not making that last one up), try contacting me again.

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