Not Easy to Love: Brutalism, Paul Rudolph, and the Orange County Government Center

March 4, 2015 9:57 PM

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Not Easy to Love: Brutalism, Paul Rudolph, and the Orange County Government Center

Controversy has always surrounded the Orange County Government Center, a monumental complex 50 miles northwest of New York City. It was designed in 1966 in the Brutalist style by Paul Rudolph, the celebrated modern architect who studied with Walter Gropius and was chairman of the Yale School of Architecture from 1958 to 1965. But that simmering controversy has now come to a boil.

A plan is at the ready to alter beyond recognition the provocative-looking complex of three fluted-concrete buildings—made of stacked, extruded volumes with wall-size, eyelike windows suggesting a giant robotic insect. The buildings are connected by bridges at two levels, and between them have no fe...

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