Area Guides for Philadelphia and the Surrounding Counties in Pennsylvania & New Jersey
Neutra Cyclorama Building
The Richard Neutra-designed Cyclorama Building at Gettysburg National Military Park as it stood prior to this week’s demolition. Photo courtesy of Don Wiles.

Perhaps no category of architects generates more controversy that those who discarded the norms of their times and broke new ground. This week, the Richard Neutra-designed Cyclorama building at the Gettysburg National Military Park met the wrecking ball. The building, completed in 1963, a century after Pickett’s Charge, the battle it depicted in 360-degree form, was a source of controversy in its 50-year life. Some battlefield experts say removing the building will restore the area to its original, grassy form; others, including Neutra’s son, Dion, say it was a significant work by the sometimes controversial architect; its design allowed visitors to surround themselves in the pain, drama and loss that took place on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. The 377-foot painting that depicted Pickett’s Charge was removed for restoration in 2008 and is now installed at a new visitor’s center. You can read more about the demolition here, or, for a look at a Richard Neutra residence that not only has stood the test of time but has been exceptionally well maintained by its original owner, pay a visit to Coveney House in Gulph Mills, Pa.

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