July 6, 2015

[In Transition] The Orange County Government Center: Goshen, New York

Our In Transition series digs back in and brings you up to speed on the current status of historic places previously featured in Preservation magazine or the PreservationNation blog.

The Orange County Government Center

photo by: Joseph, Flickr

The Orange County Government Center is a Brutalist-style building designed by architect Paul Rudolph.

The Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York was featured in the Winter 2013 Issue of Winter 2013 Issue of Preservation magazine magazine as the focus of the article, “Defending Brutalism.” The complex was designed by architect Paul Rudolph and completed in 1971. After 40 years of use, wear and tear on the building showed in its leaky roofs and outdated mechanical systems. In 2011, tropical storms Irene and Lee exacerbated problems and closed the Orange County Government Center for good.

That same year, then-County Executive, Edward Diana proposed demolition of the building and construction of a new government complex at the price of $114 million. Because of the hefty price tag of the new complex, county officials sought alternative proposals from the community. In 2014, a New York-based architect offered to buy the Orange County Government Center and proposed to convert it into an arts center.

In this video from August 2010, the recordonline.com team asks members of the community if they think the Orange County Government Center should be renovated or torn down.

The county vetoed the proposal and began pursuing plans that they’d drawn up in the intervening years to demolish the building. Opponents of the plan quickly mobilized and, in an effort to stop demolition, brought a lawsuit against the county, alleging that demolition of the complex and construction of a new complex was a waste of taxpayers’ money. The lawsuit advanced all the way to the New York State Supreme Court where, in June, it was dismissed.

On July 1, demolition of the Orange County Government Center began.

Would you like an update on the status of a particular historic place featured in Preservation magazine or on the blog? Let us know in the comments.

Jamesha Gibson is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She is passionate about using historic preservation as an avenue for underrepresented communities to share their unique stories. Jamesha also enjoys learning about other cultures through reading, art, language, dancing, and especially cuisine.

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