Neutra & Alexander

Painted Desert Visitor Center

Added by info, last update: February 4, 2015, 1:03 pm

Location
One Park Road Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028
United States
35° 3' 55.5732" N, 109° 46' 53.5368" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Landscape (LND)
Secondary classification: Administration (ADM)
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):

The Painted Desert Visitor Center was listed to the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Painted Desert Community Complex Historic District in 2005.The Painted Desert Community Complex was listed as a National Treasure in 2014.

History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

The Painted Desert Visitor Center, part of the Painted Desert Community Complex, is located within the Petrified Forest National Park. The Complex includes administration offices, maintenance facilities, visitor services, and employee housing. The twenty-four acre complex was designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander, as part of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 initiative. The goal of Mission 66 was to revitalize the National Parks and to provide services for the increased number of visitors arriving at the parks after World War II. The program included park improvements such as widened roads and enhanced visitor amenities, as well as a new building typology, the visitor center. Visitor centers centralized a wide range of park services in one location. Interpretation, visitor information, park offices, and service facilities were consolidated under one roof, with the intention of controlling what, how and when visitors experienced park resources. Mission 66 visitor centers utilized mid-century modern architectural styles, a drastic departure from the rustic park architecture of previous decades. The modern designs were meant to symbolize progress and change within the National Parks. The simple, low lines of Mission 66 visitor centers were designed to visually recede, revealing the natural or historic landscape of the park. The location of the visitor center within the park created a deliberate flow of visitors and a specific interpretation experience, where the visitor center was the “viewing platform” from which the park resource was first encountered.

The Park Service commissioned Neutra and Alexander to design the Painted Desert Community Complex. Neutra and Alexander divided the complex into four main areas, the Commercial Area, the Industrial Area, Recreation Area, and Residential Area (National Register of Historic Places 3). The design focused on the use of modern materials, climate considerations, and the integration of the landscape into the interior of the buildings (Low 75). The Visitor Center was located in the Commercial Area. For the Visitor Center, Neutra and Alexander designed a specific, sequential visitor experience, which began as the visitor entered the lobby. Large glass windows provided views to the central plaza, encouraging visitors to go out and explore the landscape. Visitor information and services were located at a central information desk with restrooms adjacent. Next, visitors followed a specific interpretation path, which began with exhibits in the lobby, then continued out into the plaza, with outdoor exhibits. This, again, was intended to draw the visitor out into the park landscape (Kinsley 58).

Dates: Commission / Completion:Designed/Commissioned: 1958-1960 Construction and Completion: 1961-62
Architectural and other Designer(s): Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander
Others associated with Building/Site: Original and Current Owner: United States National Park Service
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Since its initial construction in 1961-62, minor alterations have changed the original design of the Visitor Center. On the exterior, the first major change to the building was altered paint colors. The original color scheme for the Complex was accents of blue, gold, rust and yellow on white or tan buildings. In 1976, all buildings in the Complex were painted brown, making them less visible in the landscape. (National Register of Historic Places 10). Additionally, the flat roof of the Visitor Center was replaced with a shallow pitched roof. This pitched roof was extended over the terrace on the North elevation, altering the character of the terrace and the visual appearance of the I-beam “spider legs”. The terrace on the east façade was enclosed in 1987 to create more interior space. This too altered the appearance of the unique i-beams. A tint was added to some windows on the second floor, and in some places the original stucco is lost (Gorski and Lovato 86). In the central plaza, all of the original plantings planned by Neutra and Alexander have been lost due to lack of irrigation. This destroys the lush view from the lobby that Neutra and Alexander originally designed (Low 141). In addition, the exterior exhibits have been removed, truncating the specific visitor flow that Neutra envisioned. The window wall in the lobby was meant to create a continuation of exterior and interior, drawing the viewer out onto the plaza (Kinsley 58). The major change to the interior of the visitor center was the addition of a theater in the east end of the lobby in 1975. The theater wall interrupts the wall of windows, obscuring the view to the central plaza. Other changes to the lobby include the relocation of the information desk (National Register of Historic Places 10). Throughout the building, many of the original finishes have been changed. The flooring in some rooms was replaced and is now inconsistent throughout the building. Wood paneling was added to some of the office walls, and door hardware was removed or changed sporadically (Gorski and Lovato 86-87).
Current Use: The Painted Desert Visitor Center continues to serve as a visitor center within the Petrified Forest National Park. The Visitor Center includes an information desk, bookstore, theater, and a computer center for interactive interpretation of the park. Park offices are located on the second floor.
Current Condition: Due to continued occupation and maintenance by the National Park Service, the visitor center is in good condition. In 2014, the building’s foundation was re-shored to correct ongoing structural problems. The Painted Desert Community Complex was recently designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 2015, the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Modern Phoenix and the Arizona Preservation Foundation will develop a plan for restoration of the complex, intended to restore the original Neutra and Alexander design.
General Description:

The Painted Desert Visitor Center is one of twenty-three structures within the Painted Desert Community Complex. The Complex is surrounded by the flat, expansive landscape of the Painted Desert. It is isolated along the park road, with no other nearby structures. The Visitor Center is a two-story, concrete block building, which was meant to be public’s first point of contact with the park. The rectangular shape of the building and the original flat roof contributed to the low, horizontal feeling of the entire Painted Desert Complex. The exterior of the building is characterized by long expanses of concrete block. The building has two primary facades, one oriented west toward the parking lot, and the north façade, facing the central plaza. The west façade, the first that visitors encounter, includes a large storefront window wall and covered walkway. A cantilevered terrace visually separates the first and second levels. On the second level, a band of aluminum frame windows faces the parking lot. The terrace wraps around the building to the north. On the north elevation, a large glass window wall on the first floor creates a view from the lobby to the central plaza. The plaza is the focal point of the Painted Desert Complex. Neutra designed the Visitor Center to define the southern edge of the plaza (National Register of Historic Places 16). The large windows draw visitors out onto the plaza, encouraging them to interact with the landscape. On the second floor, the terrace and band of aluminum frame windows continue, although with fixed transoms. Neutra’s iconic “spider legs” support the roof and project down to the first floor (National Register of Historic Places 17). The terrace originally continued to the east elevation, but was enclosed in 1986. The east elevation adjoins the Complex residence building, which also frames the central plaza. The south façade is a long expanse of concrete block, punctured by three doors to the restrooms and administration offices. On the interior, visitors enter the first floor lobby from the main entrance on the west elevation. The open plan includes an information desk and exhibits. A theater was added to the east end of the lobby in 1975. Public restrooms are accessed from the south façade entrances only. In addition to the lobby and public restrooms, the first floor includes storage and administration spaces. A stair from the lobby leads to the second floor, which is comprised of a double-loaded corridor of administration offices.

Construction Period:

The Painted Desert Community Complex had structural issues even before construction
was completed. Cracks began appearing in concrete block walls throughout the complex during the construction period. A soil investigation revealed inadequate footings and incorrectly compacted fill. In addition, steel reinforcing was inaccurately placed. These errors were likely the result of unclear documents from Neutra and Alexander, as well as careless work by the contractor. Repairs were made shortly after construction was completed in 1962 (National Register of Historic Places 13-14).

Original Physical Context:

The Painted Desert Visitor Center is located in the Petrified Forest National Park, 93,533 acres of semi-desert and badlands located in northeastern Arizona, on the Colorado Plateau. The Visitor Center is one of twenty-three buildings within the Painted Desert Community Complex. The Complex includes administration offices, maintenance facilities, visitor services, and employee housing. The Visitor Center borders the central plaza, the focal point of the Complex (National Register of Historic Places 15). The Complex is isolated, situated along the park road with no other nearby structures.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

The Painted Desert Visitor Center is constructed of modern materials and material systems typical of mid-century modern designs and a hallmark of the Mission 66 program. The building materials include concrete block, stucco, some steel framing, aluminum frame windows, and commercial storefronts on a concrete slab foundation. “Spider leg” i-beam supports, iconic in Neutra’s designs, are located on the north elevation (National Register of Historic Places 17).

Social:

The Painted Desert Visitor Center was constructed as part of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program. The program was designed to revitalize and modernize the park system by 1966, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service. In the years following World War II, increased visitation coupled with decreased funding had left the parks in poor condition. Visitors faced traffic jams, congested attractions, long lines, and deteriorating buildings. The ten-year program began in 1956, with a number of initiatives aimed at alleviating overcrowding and modernizing the National Parks. The most notable result of these initiatives was a new building typology, the visitor center. The Mission 66 program constructed over one hundred new visitor centers, which revolutionized the way visitors experienced a park. Visitor centers centralized a wide range of park services in one location. Interpretation, visitor information, park offices, and service facilities were consolidated under one roof, with the intention of controlling what, how and when visitors experienced park resources.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The Painted Desert Visitor Center is a representative example of Nuetra’s public work, and the last remaining Neutra designed building in the National Park System. Like all Mission 66 visitor centers, the design emphasizes a relationship between the building and the landscape, attempting to disappear, with simple, low horizontal lines. This is a drastic departure from previous National Park rustic architectural styles, which were meant to blend, rather and fade, from the landscape. National Park rustic architecture drew on its surroundings to suggest a specific idea, like pueblos in the southwest or hewn log buildings in the mountains. Mission 66 modern architecture rejected this idea, instead focusing on disappearing within the landscape, rather than attempting to add to it. This was accomplished with simple, sparse modern materials such as stucco and concrete block. The buildings were a tool for the park service to control the flow of visitors and their interpretive experience, a viewing platform from which the park was first encountered and understood.
Historical:

The Painted Desert Visitor Center has historical significance as part of the larger Mission 66 program, but did not obtain canonical status or architectural notoriety in its own right. It is not a well-known Neutra design, although it is a rarer example of his public work.

General Assessment:
The Painted Desert Visitor Center is significant for its association with the Mission 66 program and as a representation of the work of Neutra and Alexander. The complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 as a nationally significant work of architecture. The complex is one of only two Mission 66 projects Neutra and Alexander designed. It is illustrative of Neutra’s neighborhood planning theories, which groups buildings of different functions around a central plaza. The complex also embodies Neutra’s ideas about modern architecture in the landscape. Neutra believed that man-made objects could never compete with nature, and should therefore be completely different, and stand out in the landscape. This aligned with the Mission 66 program theory that park architecture should not try to blend with the surroundings. The Painted Desert Visitor Center contributes to the overall significance of the Painted Desert Community Complex, with many of Nuetra’s unique architectural elements, such as i-beam “spider leg” supports. In addition, the Painted Desert Visitor Center is an embodiment of a new building typology. Before Mission 66, visitor services and information were rarely centralized within National Parks. The design and location of the Painted Desert Visitor Center symbolizes the Park Service’s ideas about visitor experience and interpretation strategies during the Mission 66 era.
Documentation
Text references:

Gorski, Andrew, and Michael Lovato. Maintenance Guides for the Treatment of Historic Properties,
Petrified Forest National Park. The University of Arizona and National Park Service Desert
Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, 2005.

Kinsley, Rebecca. “Mission 66: Where are we now? The Preservation and Re-use of Mission 66
Visitor Centers” M.S. Thesis, Columbia University, 2013.

Low, Sandy. Design Principles for Site Development in Our National Parks Based Upon Historic
Precedents and Current Needs. Las Vegas: University of Nevada, 2009.

National Register of Historic Places Report, Painted Desert Community Complex Historic District.
Petrified Forest National park, Apache County, Arizona, National Register #20050415.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Rebecca Zeller / November 25, 2014

Cyclorama Building

Added by Lindsey Schweinberg, last update: August 17, 2012, 12:22 pm

Cyclorama Building
Location
125 Taneytown Road
Cumberland Township (Gettysburg vicinity), PA 17325
United States
39° 48' 56.898" N, 77° 14' 3.1524" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Education (EDC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

Commission brief: The Gettysburg Cyclorama and Visitor Center was the perhaps the most prominent project of the 1956-1966 Mission 66 National Park Service project, approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1956. The new visitor centers constructed under the Mission 66 philosophy were typically constructed directly on top of key park features and designed in Modern vocabulary—to distinguish from earlier NPS styles—and featured an array of  interpretative educational material and displays for visitors.

The Cyclorama Building had the dual purpose of housing the decaying 1884 Paul Philippoteux Cyclorama painting depicting the July 3rd, 1863 Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, and of serving as the emblematic building of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 building program, given importance of historical site. There is no definitive correspondence indicating when Neutra was attached to the Gettysburg visitor center project, but according to later accounts, it appears that his firm had at least been informally engaged by 1957.

Design brief: The building’s program reflected Mission 66 National Park Service visitor center philosophy, with the additional program requirement of housing the Cyclorama painting. The original NPS design from before Neutra and Alexander were engaged, was for a drum-shaped building with an observation platform on top. The original design submitted by Neutra and Alexander featured a nine-story observation tower at the south end of the building. Neutra’s original vision of the building as a shrine to Abraham Lincoln and to the ideals of the Gettysburg Address largely dissipated during the design process, though the words “…shall not perish from the earth” (from the Gettysburg Address) are inscribed within the exhibition space of the drum.

Building/construction: The building was constructed from 1959 to 1962.

Remarks: In April 1995, the National Park Service (NPS) requested consultation with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on a draft plan for the Gettysburg National Military Park, which proposed demolition of the Cyclorama building. “In December 1995, the NPS prepared a Determination of Eligibility for the Cyclorama Building, in accordance with National Register Bulletin #22, ‘Guidelines for Evaluating and Nominating Properties That Have Achieved Significance Within The Last Fifty Years.’ Based upon its evaluation of Criteria Consideration G, the NPS determined that the building had not achieved historic architectural significance since its design in 1958, and had not received scholarly recognition. On May 26, 1996, the Pennsylvania SHPO concurred with the NPS that the Cyclorama Building was not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.”  At the request of the Society of Architectural Historians,  on September 24, 1998 the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places reversed those findings, determining that the Cyclorama Building was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under criterion A and criterion C. Meanwhile, in May 1998, the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) issued a report on the Gettysburg National Military Park titled “A Problem of Common Ground.” The report recommended the demolition of the Neutra Cyclorama while acknowledging its significance as a major work of modernist architecture and as a key building in the NPS’s 1956-1966 Mission 66 visitor center building project. In November 1998, a general management plan for Gettysburg National Military Park was issued under Superintendent John Latschar, calling for the restoration of the 1863 battlefield and removal of all NPS buildings from the site. In January 1999, ACHP Section 106 review, required by law for interventions on National Register-eligible buildings and sites, determined that the demolition of the Neutra Cyclorama “would result in a decided beneficial impact to the historic landscapes of the Union battle lines of July 2 and July 3, 1863,”   calling for a new visitor center and museum to be constructed of the battlefield. In 2000, the NPS and National Parks Advisory Board rejected application for designation of site as a National Historic Landmark submitted by the Society of Architectural Historians in 1999. SAH appealed the ruling in 2004. The Cyclorama is slated for demolition at an unspecified date.

Dates: Commission / Completion:commission or competition date: 1956-1958, start of site work: excavation of drum foundation: 29 December 1959, completion/inauguration: building opened to public: 17 March 1962
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architect(s): Neutra and Alexander (Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander) Supervising architects: Dion Neutra and Thaddeus Longstreth Consulting engineer(s): Structural Engineers: Parker, Zehnder; Associates Mechanical Engineer: Boris Lemos Electrical Engineers: Earl Holmberg and Associates Building contractor(s): General Contractor: Orndorff Construction, Camp Hill/New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; Plumbing Contractor: Hirsch-Arkin-Pinehurst, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Electrical Contractor: Keystone Engineering Corporation; HVAC Contractor: Yorkaire Cooling and Heating
Others associated with Building/Site: Original owner(s)/patron(s): National Park Service
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): All alterations completed by National Park Service. Alteration: Excavation of south end of ground floor for storage and fallout shelter before completion (1962-63) Alteration: Daughters of Union Veterans donates electronic carillon, to coincide with centennial of end of Civil War. (1965) Change in use: Visitor center functions move to adjacent Rosensteel Building. (1974) NPS offices remain in Cyclorama, along with interpretative displays, but primary function as gateway to the park is rendered null. Alteration: Rooftop pools removed from use. Rotunda roof resurfaced with rubber composite. Ceiling hanging of Cyclorama painting modified to reduce stress on canvas. (1978) Alteration: Employee lounge converted into vault for temporary display of manuscript copy of the Gettysburg Address. Two security doors added to protect the document. (1979) Alteration : Raised subfloor added in office section. (1983) Alteration: Drywall partition added to projection room in first floor of rotunda. (1986) Alteration: Removal of ground-level reflecting pool. (1989) Alteration: Cyclorama painting removed for conservation and later transfer to new visitor center building. (2005)
Current Use: Of principal components: The Cyclorama Painting, once hung in the drum  is undergoing conservation work, to be reinstalled at the new visitor center. Whether or not the Cyclorama Painting is a building component is arguable, though the drum of the building was designed specifically to house the painting. The hanging system devised for the drum damaged the painting, requiring, according to the National Park Service, conservation and re-hanging in a specially designed new environment. Comments: scheduled for demolition
Current Condition: Of whole building/site: The Cyclorama Building is largely intact, save for the removal of the 1884 Cyclorama painting from the drum for conservation. Principal original features of the 1962 building no longer function: the reflecting pool on the rooftop observation deck and the waterfall from that pool to an intermediate pool; the aluminum window louvers are no longer operable. All the original mechanical hardware for the inoperable systems are still intact. Comments: Gettysburg National Military will undergo a conjectural restoration to return the site to its July 1863 state, though the vast number of memorials and later road construction, mostly dating from the turn of the twentieth century, will remain intact.
General Description:

The Cyclorama Building is three part-building constructed primarily of concrete, with facing in stone and glass, and aluminum window louvers. The three parts of the building are the drum, constructed of steel frame and reinforce concrete, which was designed to house the Cyclorama painting and related exhibits; an intermediate, fan-shape wing that joins the drum, which houses an auditorium and circulation space; and the nearly 200-foot long rectilinear two-story reinforced concrete wing, which houses two lobbies, visitor center services and National Park Service offices. The building runs on a north-south axis, with the drum located at the north end. The drum is a two-part vertical composition. The main section of the drum, which housed the Cyclorama painting, is a white 41-foot-high, poured-in-place reinforced concrete cylinder with a diameter of almost 125 feet, whose exterior is articulated by shallow vertical ribs running the entire circumference. Below the drum lie thirteen concrete piers faced in ashlar fieldstone. The rectilinear wing, oriented along the north-south axis of the building, is faced in glass and fieldstone at the base (a reference, perhaps to both the old mode of rustic NPS buildings and local Pennsylvania tradition) and features 15-foot-high vertical aluminum louvers along the east elevation. A reinforced concrete ramp, supported by three thin rectangular concrete piers, runs the length of the west side of the visitor-office wing and allows access to the rooftop observation deck, which formerly featured a reflecting pool running the entire length of the east side of the wing. The south elevation of the building is faced with ashlar fieldstone, from which projects a one-story spiderleg that extends over the roof to form the wall of the observation decks on top of the building. The Cyclorama has two entrances, both located on the north side of the rectilinear office wing, on the east and west sides. The lobby is finished in terrazzo floors and unfinished concrete walls and features two-story concrete columns project from the floor to the two-story-high ceiling. A corridor leads northward to the fan-shaped auditorium wing, where, from the first story, circulation opens to the south end of the drum. From the first floor, a winding central ramp spirals upward along a central cylinder up to the top of the drum, which held the Cyclorama, and allowed an uninterrupted 360 degree view of the 1884 painting.

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

Name of surrounding area: Gettysburg National Military Park.
Visual relations: The building sits atop Ziegler’s Grove, nearby the site on the battlefield where Pickett’s Charge, the event depicted in the 1884 Cyclorama painting, took place on 3 July, 1863. The site is located across Taneytown Road from the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in November 1863. The observation platform on top of the building allows an uninterrupted view over the entire Gettysburg battlefield to the east, south and west. Functional relations:The removal of the Cyclorama painting from the Cyclorama Building has effectively severed the referent value of the Neutra building: where one was supposed to view the painting in the context of the grounds it depicted, that meaning is now absent.
Completed situation: The building sits just south of the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and on the north tip of the Gettysburg battlefield. The Cyclorama Building lies just south of the Rosensteel Building, a privately built structure that has served as the park’s visitor center since 1974, and across Taneytown Road from the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where the dead from the battle are buried and where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.Original situation or character of site: The site is located within Gettysburg National Military Park, which comprises the site of the Union victory against the Confederate military in the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place 1-3 July, 1863 and was one of the most pivotal and bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. The park site was landscaped and preserved by the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association from 1863 until 1895, when the War Department took control of the site. The National Park Service assumed control of the site in 1933 under executive order.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

The Cyclorama Building’s primary technical significance is as the key building in the U.S. National Park Service’s Mission 66 project. As such, it stands not as a singular achievement of Modern Movement building construction or use of materials, but as the National Park Service’ s emblem of Mission 66 style in its embrace of undisguised Modern construction materials (reinforced concrete, sheet glass, aluminum in the case of the Cyclorama Building), far different from the 1930s NPS Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) buildings, which were constructed in a rustic style.

Social:

The social significance of the Cyclorama is twofold: it is the exemplary building of the U.S. National Park Service’s 1956-1966 Mission 66 visitor center building project and a unique post-World War II and Cold War attempt by Neutra to make contemporary visitors face both the legacy of brutality of armed conflict at Gettysburg and worldwide and an alternate vision of peace and human freedom offered by President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address. In the rejected application for designation of the Cyclorama Building as a National Historic Landmark, architectural historians Richard Longstreth and Christine Madrid French placed the building as the most significant of the Mission 66 visitor center project: The Cyclorama Building was one of the largest and most ambitious of the new visitor facilities constructed as part of the Mission 66 program. Neutra's reputation appears to have been the central factor in the decision by Park Service officials to secure him for the job … [but] Park Service officials to break from their prevailing practices on this one occasion and commission a famous architect whose offices lay across the continent unless they held the express aim of creating an exceptional building, one that would stand as the flagship of the program. In retrospect, too, only a few other Mission 66 projects such as that for the Wright Brothers Memorial possess attributes that approach the extraordinary ones of the Cyclorama Building. The other social effect of the Neutra’s Cyclorama Building is more subtle, and must be understood in the context of the building as a display case for the Philippoteaux Cyclorama painting and as a viewing platform for the Gettysburg Battlefield. The future NPS plan for the site envisions the battlefield as a restored (though in fact conjectural) landscape in which the space of the battle—the military action—can be imagined, rather than Neutra’s more reflective vision, which asked the contemporary visitor to reflect back on the site through the lens of future history.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The building is arguably a key Neutra work in its engagement both with the architect’s design vocabulary and his conception of architecture as a means of transmitting understanding of the outside world through the experience of the building. In this case, the National Park Service’s Mission 66 design philosophy, which called for the placement of the visitor center directly atop the historic resource resource. Longstreth and French write:The architect took advantage of the location to dramatize visitor’s encounter with the site and with the presentation of history. Instead of the static composition conceived by Park Service planners in a preliminary scheme of 1957, the realized building possesses a dynamic relationship with the setting. Movement to and through the facility is circuitous rather than direct, composed purposely to enhance the drama of viewing the painting and experiencing the historic landscape beyond. Since this goal was perhaps never realized, though part of the design. Nevertheless, the building remains a expression of Neutra’s late, nearly abstract Modernism as exemplified in the intersection of the rectilinear office wing with the fan-shaped auditorium and drum, and the nearly levitating ramp on the west elevation that allows access to the roof. The building stands in contrast to the heavy monumental architectural of the battlefield monuments, interposing an abstract yet organic presence (aided by the now non-functioning reflecting pools) that both set itself apart from the landscape and reflected it back as an observation platform. Canonical status:Though the building is a major work by one of the most celebrated twentieth-century American architects, it has not entered building canons, perhaps because of its relative obscurity within the career of Richard Neutra and later critical tendency to focus on Neutra’s residential construction rather than his public buildings, which constituted an significant percentage of his post-World War II commissions. The building has become famous largely in the fight to preserve it; it rarely appears in surveys of Neutra’s work other than collected volumes.
Historical:
General Assessment:
Documentation
Text references:

Gettysburg National Park archives, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania National Park Service History Collection, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia; Neutra Papers, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Special Collections, Los Angeles, CaliforniaThaddeus Longstreth Papers, Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
BOOKS
U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, "Our Heritage: A Plan for Its Protection and Use," Washington: National Park Service, 1956. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, "That the Past Shall Live" Washington: National Park Service, 1959. Neutra, Richard J., Life and Shape, New York: Van Rees Press, 1962. __________________, Richard Neutra 1961-66: Buildings and Projects, Zurich: Verlag fur Architektur, and New York: Praeger, 1966. Darling, F. Fraser, and Noel D. Eichhorn, Man "Nature in the National Parks: Reflections on Policy, Washington: Conservation Foundation, 1967, 2nd ed., 1969. Drexler, Arthur, and Thomas S. Hines, The Architecture of Richard Neutra: From International Style to California Modern, New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1982. Wirth, Conrad Louis, Parks, Politics, and the People, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980. ARTICLES
Mickel, Ernest, "A Washington Report, Mission 66: A New Challenge to Architects," Architectural Record 120 (August 1956), 32. Goble, Emerson, "Architecture for the National Parks" Architectural Record 121 (January 1957), 173-188. Huyck, Dorothy B. "Gettysburg's Gain: New $1 Million Visitor Center to Give Tourists Clearer Picture of Battle" New York Times, 6 May 1962, XX-15. Howe, Ward Allan, "A Date to Recall: Gettysburg Centennial Will Be Marked by Special Ceremonies July 1-4" New York Times, 9 June 1963, XX-19. Koehler, Robert E., "Our Park Service Serves Architecture Well" AIA Journal 60 (January 1971), 18-25. Hines, Thomas S., "Richard Neutra, AIA 1977 Gold Medalist," AIA Journal 66 (March 1977), 53-54.
"Profile: Richard J. Neutra, Los Angeles, California," Pacific Architect and Builder, May 1960. The Philippoteaux Cyclorama, a Huge and Famous Old Painting, Now has a New Home at Gettysburg, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1 July 1962, "Today" magazine. Richard Neutra issue, Vitrum 131 (May-June 1962) [Milan]. Richard Neutra Number, Arquitectura, 7 (September 1965) [Madrid]. "Richard Neutra: His Thoughts and Architectural Works," Column 16 (ca. 1962), 87-112 [Tokyo].
Von Eckardt, Wolf, "The Park Service Dares to Build Well," Washington Post, 29 March 1964, G6.
Von Eckardt, Wolf, "Richard Neutra: Survival Through Design," Saturday Review, 6 June 1970, 62-63.
Knight, Carleton, III, "Park Service as Client: II," Architecture 84 (December 1984), [ ].
Freeman, Allen, "Unwelcome Centers: The Park Service Reevaluates Its Modern Buildings from the 1960s," Preservation 49 (July-August 1997), 16-17.
Fitts, Deborah, "Some Say Save the Cyclorama," Civil War News, July 1998, 19a.
"Gettysburg's Cyclorama Building faces Demolition," Preservation Pennsylvania, 11:4 (1998), 1, 7.
Neutra, Dion, "Gettysburg Revisited: Memories of an Architect Son," AIArchitect 5 (April 1998), 20.
Hine, Thomas, "Which of All Pasts to Preserve?" New York Times, 21 February 1999, AR48.
"Gettysburg Visitor Center: Too Old to Be Chic; Too Young to Be Revered ...Or What Can Happen to Buildings of Merit that Are Less than 50 Years Old," AIArchitect 5 (February 1998), 5.
Neutra's cyclorama: no safe ground / Christine Madrid. L.A. architect 2000 July-Aug., p.11
Another battle at Gettysburg: the historic Cyclorama building should hold its ground / John Beardsley. In: Landscape architecture 2000 Sept., v.90, n.9, p.125,128,
Save The Cyclorama Building: Neutra's monumental vision of Gettysburg / Christine Madrid French.
In: Blueprints 2002 Summer, v.20, n.3, p.7-9, ISSN 0742-0552.
Neutra's Cyclorama holds its ground. Newsletter / Do.co.mo.mo US, New York/Tri-State 2004 Summer, p.8.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: name of reporter:  Patrick Warren Ciccone address:  516 W. 143rd St. Apt. 4D New York, NY 10031 telephone:  646.483.4563 fax: N/A  e-mail: pwc8@columbia.edu date of report: 03.01.07
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