The 20th-century architect Richard Neutra was best known for modernism, so it was an interesting notion to have him build the visitors' center at Gettysburg, a Civil War historic site. His building originally housed the Gettsyburg Cyclorama, an incredible 360 degree painting by Paul Philippoteaux that surrounds visitors and brings them into an experience of the battlefield the way a planetarium can make an indifferent schoolkid feel like they're flying through space.
The painting was moved out of Neutra's building in 2008, but the National Park Service had been lobbying for the building's demolition well before that. As the Inquirer's Amy Worden points out, the battle over the building's fate has lasted far longer than the Civil War itself. But now it appears the Park Service has won the legal skirmishes with historical preservation groups and Dion Neutra, the architect's son. From the Inky:
The National Park Service, which first announced plans to demolish the Cyclorama in 1999, has complied with a judge's order to complete a comprehensive review of the building and possible alternative, and has again arrived at the same conclusion: Tear it down. Those preservationists are considering their next move, it's hard to imagine what can be done, particularly since the building lacks appropriate historic designation. It would cost $44 million to move the building away from the Park Service wrecking balls. That's one heck of a Kickstarter campaign.
· At Gettysburg, the fight over the fate of the modernist Cyclorama building may be near end [Inquirer]