Breuer Buildings Threatened


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With all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the opening of the newly renovated Met Breuer in New York this week, Docomomo US is following recent developments concerning two other important Marcel Breuer buildings: the Central Public Library (1980) in Atlanta, Georgia and the Pirelli Tire Building (1970) in New Haven, Connecticut. Nearly a decade after the earlier calls for Atlanta Central Public Library demolition and replacement, local officials are currently recommending a smaller Central Library contrary to the request of a bigger building in the proposal from 2008. Consistant deferred maintenance and reduced circulation at this downtown location make it a likely target for development, closure or demolition.

The fate of Breuer's Pirelli Tire Building likewise is unknown as local officials seek state funds to develop a proposal for redevelopment and possibly a buyer for the building. A part of the pedestal section of the building was demolished by IKEA, owners of the building, as part of a "compromise" plan in 2003 that Docomomo US opposed. Ten years later the building remains empty for some reason, an now primarily serves as a oversize IKEA billboard. Hopefully it will see better days as the city seeks to reconnect downtown with the waterfront area, in which the building is located. Both buildings deserve our attention.