National Park Service Orders Demolition Of Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama
January 11, 2013
Neutra’s Cyclorama, which was completed in 1962; Photo via Artinfo
The road has been rough, but Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama building at Gettsyburg has finally met its fate. After a 15-year battle, The National Park Service has announced its decision to demolish Neutra’s 50-year-old modernist structure, relieving the commemorative battlefield of what purists and Civil War reenactors consider a large and needlessly provocative blot on otherwise hallowed ground.
The building, notable for the severity of its circular form coupled with the cool vacation home-modernism of its attendant pavilion, was originally constructed to house Paul Philippoteaux’s 377-foot-long tableau depicting Pickett’s Charge, which hung on the walls of Neutra’s white concrete and glass Cyclorama until it was relocated in 2008. The site was closed soon thereafter and subjected to a round of comprehensive reviews of both “non-demolition” and redevelopment alternatives. Continue.The NPS had first begun exploring the possibility of demolition in 1997, before resolving to demolish the building in 1999. This decision came under fire from preservationists, who persuaded the court to order the NPS to conduct a series of reviews that would determine the Cyclorama’s future. As the Philadelphia Enquirer reports, the park service has issued its recommendation: to raze the structure. According to the NPS spokesperson Katie Lawhon, “The site is a key portion of the Union battle line and is important to the public understanding of what happened here.” The decision will be embraced by those who have wanted to see the battlefield returned to its 1863-state.
[via Philadelphia Enquirer, Curbed]