Tear This Down : Build This

|March 23, 2012 | Found Images

Orange County Government Center, Goshen, NY, by Paul Rudolph, 1971.

I understand that my fondness for the brutalist concrete structures of the 1960s and 70s has something to do with their epitomizing the urban landscape of this country during the period in which I was first becoming aware of it. Would I like them as much outside of that context, in the abstract? It’s impossible for me to say.

I understand also that progress is unstoppable ( see every movie about the advent of talking pictures, from Singin’ In The Rain to The Artist, contemplate doing your next album entirely on tape, look at the face of that guy who’s watching his beautiful 1966 Ford Mustang getting cranked up onto a tow truck ), and that the pragmatic must often triumph over the aesthetic, especially when it comes to functional, tax-funded buildings. I know what an expensive nightmare it is to fit an old building with a new, up-to-code sprinkler system, and I know that concrete shifts, cracks, and leaks.

I do wonder, however, if it’s really necessary for the future to be this boring. It’s the future, remember? The Architects Newspaper.

Proposal for the new Orange County Government Center.