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Architect Richard Neutra's Modernist Cyclorama Demolished

A major public work by architect Richard Neutra was destroyed today. The 1962 modernist Cyclorama building at Gettysburg is being crunched up into little pieces after years of pleas and lawsuits and bargaining to save it. The Pennsylvania battlefield commissioned the sleek showpiece to exhibit a circular cyclorama painting of the scene completed in 1883. They closed it in 2005 and plan to replace it with a structure that resembles a barn of the Civil War period. The National Register of Historic Places, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the architects son, Silver Lake-based Dion Neutra (who called the destruction “a tyranny of the minority visited upon the rest of the world!”) all worked to preserve the building, but the National Park Service prevailed and took down this modernist icon. I suppose the proper way to pay tribute is to take a stroll through Neutra’s incredible Hall of Records downtown and then visit the Velaslavasay Panorama for the full-on 19th century high def experience, Los Angeles-style. Goodbye, Cyclorama.

 

Photography by Matthew Amster