In the middle of August, I drove north to check on the changes at the Orange County Government Center. The interior lighting has been installed and you can see they are finishing up. Even some of the construction fencing has begun to come down. Sadly, the new building isn't looking any better–sure the cladding will remove the blue color, but the silver envelope of zombie modernism remains.
A few years ago when I first heard about Goshen, NY's plans to demolish the Orange County Government Center from 1967, I knew I had to go and check the place out for myself. I hadn't been to Goshen since I was a little kid and was unfamiliar with the landscape there. After my first visit, I was smitten with the Brutalist structure and disappointed in the attitude that it should be demolished.
Since then I've tried to visit regularly. I've been back there over a half a dozen times–each trip making images of the architecture and the status of the cultural butchery. My last two visits were particularly weird. A new building has grown an appendage to Paul Rudolf's masterwork set in a style. You could call Zombie Modernism. While it's not quite worse than a full demolition, it is a growth that is offensive. There seems to be little thought or care in its design. There is no conversation between the two structures; it's more like an argument. For example, the new building is clad in smooth steel. The brutalist structure has a rough concrete exterior.
I think about cases where old and new were joined together successfully (The Morgan Library's Renzo Piano editions come to mind), and I have to say this is an awful example of architecture gone wrong. This is the McMansion Hell in government office form. My only hope is one day a future generation will come along and slice off the new appendage.
Part 1 of an ongoing series as the new construction wraps up.
The Connective Project is a collaborative public art project which consists of 7,000 pinwheels installed in the often overlooked Rose Garden in Prospect Park. Commissioned by the Prospect Park Alliance, conceived and produced by Rory McEvoy and Grainne Coen from the experiential marketing agency AREA4 with spatial design by Architect Suchi Reddy of Reddymade Design, the Connective Project activated a forgotten space of the park and celebrated the park's the 150th anniversary.
Included in the project is my image Spring Arboretum Reflection (below) a landscape photo I made in the park on a wet spring day. The installation is only up until Monday, July 17, so head over to the park soon and enjoy my images of the installation below!