Orange Country Government Center by Paul Rudolph; Photo: Ty Cole
The Hail Mary campaign to save Paul Rudolph's Orange County Government Center from almost certain demolition has worked! Or for now, at least. Local officials in Goshen, New York voted yesterday to strike down Orange County executive director Eddie Diana's proposal to raze Rudolph's structure and replace it with a terrible neo-colonial non-entity of a building. After several months of intense debate, which pitted architectural practitioners, historians, and preservationists against bureaucratic pragmatism and, it should be said, general local opinion, the resolution failed to gain the necessary support to enact Diana's 'vision', with the country legislature voting 11-10 to keep the Brutalist building alive, so to speak.
Aside from a short statement released by Diana, in which he states his "deep" disappointment with Thursday's outcome, there has been no word as to what will be done with the Rudolph structure, let alone any details revealing how it will be preserved or restored. The building suffers from widespread water damage caused by lifelong rain leakage and last year's Tropical Storm Irene, in whose wake left the facilities uninhabitable and subsequently vacant. Rudolph's importance to modernism is without question, but what is the importance of the preservation this modernist failure to Orange County?