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Architect moots rescue plan for Rudolph’s Brutalist county offices

Paul Rudolph’s decaying Orange County Government Center could be transformed into an arts venue under ambitious rescue plans

New York-based architect Gene Kaufman has offered to buy and regenerate the 1967 building which closed to the public three years ago and was previously threatened with demolition.

Kaufman of Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman believes the controversial Brutalist structure in Goshen, New York can be transformed into a new base for artists and the local community.

He told the New York Times: ‘Unfortunately, Paul Rudolph has relatively few monumental public buildings that he created.’

Kaufman continued: ‘It could sustain itself and be a contributing element to the community. It’s an excellent building for artists to use. We all know the arts have been the first wave of rejuvenation in many neighborhoods.’

His resurrection plan was announced shortly after a £43 million bid to restore the government building appeared to stall.

The building’s owner, Orange County, is understood to be exploring alternative options for the concrete structure after its reconstruction plan was hit by a potential year long delay amid concerns it may harm the icon.

Kaufman – who also restored Rudolph’s 1963 Art and Architecture Building at Yale – has offered to take ownership of the building and create new municipal offices on the car park.

Instead of buying the building with cash, the architect has offered to discount his design services on both projects for around £3 million less the cost outlined in the existing reconstruction scheme.

His alternative proposal would also save an estimated £1.75 million on demolition costs, it has been claimed.

Constructed from a number of protruding cubes, the Orange County Government Center features an interior courtyard which divides county courtrooms from the executive and legislative departments.

The concrete building closed to the public following flood damage caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011. The building is listed on the New York state and National Registers of Historic Places and the World Monuments Fund also added the structure to its list of cultural heritage sites at risk in 2011.

The Paul Rudolph Foundation – which has campaigned to save the building – has supported Kaufman’s latest resurrection plan. Co-director Sean Khorsandi told The New York Times: ‘We do support the premise that to date, this is the only proposal to promote no demolition of the Rudolph work.’






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