It was past vs. past: the 20th-century history of modernist architecture vs. the 19th-century history of the civil war. Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra designed a building for Gettysburg National Military Park 51 years ago, at the Park Service’s behest, to house a painting in the round by Paul Philippoteaux. But as early as 1997, the Park Service started making noises about demolishing the building, known by most as the Gettysburg Cyclorama, and in 2008, moved Philippoteaux’s painting, which cleared the way for a demolition. A fight ensued in court, but the building had no historic preservation status, and it sat right on Cemetery Ridge.
Neutra, a modernist master, has gone through this before with other properties, despite the consistent intervention of his son, architect Dion Neutra, who continues to try to safeguard his father’s legacy. Dion even petitioned the president in this case for a pardon, saying if a turkey could get a pardon, why not a classic building?
Gallery photos by Laura Kicey.
• Richard and Dion Neutra Architecture
• Pardon Neutras Cyclorama Center at Gettysburg
• Save the Cyclorama!
• Neutra’s Cyclorama: It’s More Than Just a Building
• Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Building Will Be Demolished