The Remington Arms factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut is a spectacular 1.5 million-square-foot structure of 13 interconnected buildings stretching over 76 acres. Now its future is imperiled. Long a monument on the city’s East Side, it was originally built by the Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Company beginning in 1915 to fill an order for one million rifles and 100 million rounds of ammunition to supply czarist Russian armies. Later, the building turned out bayonets, Colt automatic pistols, Browning Machine Guns, and automatic rifles. In 1920, General Electric purchased the property, and produced thousands of small kitchen appliances in the plant, but GE slowly pulled manufacturing from the building, and closed it entirely in 2007. The company claims to have looked for development opportunities for the shuttered factory, but concluded that it is “functionally obsolete (and) inappropriate for modern uses.” Now GE plans to demolish the structure, leaving a huge vacant property in Bridgeport—a city that can ill afford more dereliction.
The Remington structure’s simple yet dignified brick pier design is the kind of architecture that is often overlooked in history books but is a textbook example of what the late Italian architect Aldo Rossi highlighted as a building that expresses “the ageless originality found in formal types.” His long research into the value of repetition and fixation of essential forms in architecture meant to prove that complexes like Remington provide a valuable background for the history of human events. Though several local politicians have spoken out in favor of the demolition, it would be a terrible loss to this country’s industrial, urban, and architectural heritage. Local architect Nils Wiesenmüller of the Bridgeport Design Group has set up a Facebook page to stop the demolition. This organization and The Architect’s Newspaper have created a petition to save the factory, and begin a search for new uses for this important structure. Please sign the petition here.
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