If you follow news at all about efforts to save historic buildings, particularly those that are of the modernist variety, you’ve likely grown fairly cynical, knowing that as soon as a decision to tear down is mention, it’s pretty much going to happen no matter how many voices are out there begging for alternatives. But sometimes that trend is bucked and our faith in mankind is renewed, as was recently the case with Richard Neutra‘s mid-century Cyclorama building at Gettysburg. The National Park Service, swayed by Civil War purists, wanted the structure removed. On the other side was Neutra’s son Dion and the Recent Past Preservation Network, who were fighting to get it saved. Fortunes were on their side, as last week, a federal judge blocked the Park Service’s move to demolish the build, now requiring them to come up with alternatives. Though not a final decision, the building still could come down, this is the second judicial ruling in favor of the preservationists and that definitely seems like a good sign. Here’s a bit:
Reponse from the plaintiffs has been positive. Following the judgment, Dion Neutra, son of Richard Neutra, stated: “I know my father in Heaven would hope that this reprise would allow the Park Service to step back and reconsider its plan, and perhaps commission us to re-purpose our building.” As put by Christine Madrid French, this is a big moment for the preservation of modernism and the recent past. All hope that the Park Service will reconsider its options and opt for a choice that sees the Cyclorama preserved and re-used.