Contemporary ruins. This month's Architectural Review
has an outrage piece on the recent demolition
of Richard Neutra’s Maslon House
in Palm Springs. One would have thought that soaring real estate prices and the iconic status of these buildings would be protection enough. But no. As well as Neutra
, pioneering architects like John Lautner
and Paul Rudolph
have all seen their built legacy threatened (although here's one you can buy
). Even FLW buildings - long acknowledged as part of America's cultural heritage - have to fight
. Maybe it's too much to expect that every
iconic building is saved - after all, under whose criteria is a building judged iconic in the first place?
Here in the UK, we have the excellent Twentieth Century Society
, raising awareness of our (slender) modernist legacy (in particular, the site has an excellent case study
section). Such vigilance and enthusiasm frequently goes unrewarded
One small bonus – do a search for the man that demolished the Maslon House, Richard Rotenberg
, and the first six links all make it clear that he is a cultural vandal. Although these voices of outrage were ultimately impotent, it’s strangely fitting that Rotenberg will now be forever associated with the house's demolition, thanks to the lingering electronic traces of the protest. From the AR
It is a testament to architecture's power of genius loci that the lot, flawlessly situated at the intersection of two implausibly green fairways in the middle of scrub desert, is now striking only in its banality.