Monday, April 05, 2010

Neutra at Gettysburg

Reporting from Philadelphia - For more than a decade, Los Angeles architect Dion Neutra has waged a personal battle to save his family's controversial legacy on the Gettysburg battlefield.

Half a century ago, he worked alongside his world-famous father, architect Richard Neutra, on the Cyclorama Center, designed to house a massive circular painting depicting Pickett's charge.

In 1999, the National Park Service announced its intention to move the painting and tear down the building -- which sits in the middle of the battle line where Union troops defended Cemetery Ridge -- to restore the landscape to its 1863 appearance.

The decision touched off a long battle between Civil War purists and modern-architecture preservationists that may have finally reached its conclusion.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan in Washington sided with the modernists. In a ruling last week, he wrote that the park service had failed to comply with federal law requiring it to analyze the effect of the Cyclorama Center demolition and come up with alternatives to destroying it.

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