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The Orange County Government Building may not be Rudolph's best work, but it's too soon to dismiss it as unimportant, especially since a reasonable plan to keep it has been offered. Too many of his buildings have gone the way of the wrecking ball.
Often a building with a revolutionary design is ridiculed as soon as it is completed. There are protests and outcries for its demolition. Then a funny things happensâ€¦after a couple decades people grow to like the building. Those who hate it give up their hate and those who grow up with the building connect pleasant memories to it. Then the building is often embraced and any calls for demolition are fought tooth and nail. The same thing happens with public art.
The odd part about the Brutalist movement is that time has not sweetened the public's opinion of the buildings. They seemed brutal when new and they still seem brutal. Few are ever embraced by the public. The Salk Institute is one and that may be due more to the vast courtyard than the building itself. I pin the flaw to the use of so much exposed concrete that has an institutional feel and comes across as cold and lacking any personality. I hope the Rudolph building survives this attackâ€¦the tide of public opinion may one day turn, but I can understand why it hasn't yet. The sad part is that such ostracized buildings are often starved out of existence by deferred maintenance.
are gracious compared to any story online, especially political or religious.
One brutalist building I wouldn't mourn the passing of is Boston City Hall. But Rudolph's work is better than most; he gave texture to his concrete in most instances. I don't know about the Orange County building. The exterior does not fill my heart with joy, and I found few interior shots online. But Rudolph's reputation was secured even before he left Florida for New York. It should be preserved.
We seem to be in a culture that feeds and thrives on outrage, and which will drop all manner of civil behavior to defend a point of view no matter how narrow.
The first: Tons of concrete, odd punctuated open terraces that were probably meant to be gathering places, but which a lack of safety railing surely doomed to uselessness shortly after the building opened. Arranged in a T--one inside corner arranged around a lower courtyard, one around an upper. I have to admit, it was one of the ugliest buildings I have ever seen.
However, it easily had the best natural light of any structure on campus. In the classroom wing anyway, instead of two rows of classrooms and a hallway between them, you had the hallway, open to the sun on one side, and classrooms open to the sun on the other. On a bright day, it was glorious. But man, was it ugly.
The second Brutalist building, they've softened the interior considerably with wood, fabric installations, and drop ceilings operating as light fixtures.
As to railing height, Wrightiana is filled with examples of "inadequate" parapet provision, as is the world of building in general prior to the onset of bureaucratic nurse-tending. Do we expect anyone to add safety railings at, say, one of the architect's most-revered residential structures ? Shh -- they may be listening !