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.
Continuing the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Prospect Park, The Connective Project has moved from the park's Rose Garden to Pioneer Works. The new installation features a pinwheel by winning artist Ansel Oommen and 30 pinwheel finalists from The Connective Project, including my design. This project was conceived and developed by AREA4 and ReddyMade Design, with help from the Brooklyn Arts Council, BRIC, the Brooklyn Museum, MoCADA, Pioneer Works and the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.
These images were from the last August Second Sundays with the next and final event taking place this Sunday, August 27th.