CRF Blog

Are Some Buildings Too Ugly to Survive?

by Bill Hayes

The New York Times’ Room for Debate lets various knowledgeable contributors discuss news events and other timely issues. One recent debate covered: Are Some Buildings Too Ugly to Survive?

The Orange County government building in Goshen, N.Y., has a leaky roof, faulty ventilation and mold and, in the eyes of many, is just plain ugly. Officials shut it down last year and would like to demolish and replace it. But it is a prime example of Brutalism, from the noted architect Paul Rudolph. Many want to preserve it, even though, like many examples of Brutalism, it has not aged well. Do even ugly, unpopular buildings deserve to be saved if they are significant? Or should a community, or owner, be allowed to eliminate architectural mistakes? [more]