Paul Rudolph-Brutalist Landmark in Danger of Demolition
March 13, 2012
In less than one month’s time, a committee will vote to decide the future of Paul Rudolph’s seminal 1971 Orange County Government Center. The Brutalist building, a masterful essay in sectional composition, has never quite performed as intended by Rudolph, who designed the structure with 80-plus roof planes that have leaked without fail ever since the center’s opening. Now, it’s at risk of being demolished, reports the Architect’s Newspaper.
The building and its steady decline have led many in the community to question the merits of preservationist’s appeals to fully renovate the structure. The situation became even more bleak after calls to raze the building were precipitated by damages wrought by Hurricane Irene last August, which left the mechanical room flooded. That proved to be the last straw for Orange Country executive director Eddie Diana, who wants the building torn down and fancies an insufferably mundane neo-colonial office structure to replace Rudolph’s concrete wonder. Diana presented the $75 million proposal for the 153,600-square-foot building last week, playing up the design’s friendly and familiar aesthetic and luring in the community with promises of space and expansion. The plan will also allot $10 million to the renovation of existing government buildings, bringing the total cost to $85 million–apparently a better deal than the two renovation alternatives that would gut the interiors of the Rudolph building and replacing its building systems with energy efficient models at costs ranging from $67 t0 $77.5 million.
The World Monuments Fund, Docomomo US/New York Tristate, and the Paul Rudolph Foundation will be holding public forums in the meantime to delay or overturn what looks like the inevitable, with the final forum schedule for March 25.
$75 million for a Google Sketchup stock building. Blah.