Funding shortages, insufficient knowledge of materials and technology, and conflicting interests are often the hurdles that preservationists face in the fight to save 20th century modernist landmarks. In recent years we’ve lost Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago and Neutra’s Cyclorama at Gettysburg to demolition, and soon Paul Rudolph’s Government Center in Goshen will likely meet the same sad fate. The Getty Foundation, however, is taking steps to protect other significant buildings of this period through its second annual Keeping it Modern grant initiative, totaling $1.75 million.
It has been clear since earlier this year that Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center in Gettysburg, PA was to meet the wrecking ball, but within the last week, bulldozers have officially destroyed the structure, according to Hanover Evening Sun, ending a more-than-three-year battle over what to do with the mid-century building.
Originally designed to house Paul Philippoteaux’s 377-foot painting of Pickett’s Charge, the rotunda is being torn down in order to restore the land on which it has resided since the 1960’s to it’s historic Civil War state. Bob Kirby, Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park, expects demolition to be completed by late April but major efforts to restore the landmark site will not occur until after July 3rd, the date marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
After years of litigation, preservationists have lost the battle to save Richard Neutra’s Gettysburg cyclorama building, an iconic example of modern architecture from the 1960s. The bulldozers could raze this circular visitor center as early as February, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The National Park Service commissioned the glass and concrete building as part of its Mission 66 initiative—a billion-dollar program to update park services across the country—at the Gettysburg Battlefield site. The rotunda was designed specifically to house the 1883 panoramic painting of the Battle of Gettysburg by Paul Philippoteaux.