2 Columbus Circle in 1964, with Huntington Hartford, left, and Robert Moses


2 Columbus Circle in 2008

Nicolai Ouroussoff writes:

2 Columbus Circle

Edward Durell Stone’s building, which opened as the Gallery of Modern Art in 1964, incited one of the most bitter preservation battles in recent memory. Its defenders hailed its faux Venetian exterior as a slap against the prevailing standards of mainstream Modernism. Detractors denounced its swanky décor and cramped galleries as an urban eyesore.

The result? Everybody lost. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was too cowardly to render a verdict and never reviewed the case. The building was turned over to the Museum of Arts and Design, which gutted it to make room for new galleries and stripped away its white marble exterior.

Its mild, overly polite renovation offers us nothing breathtakingly new.

Note: Nicolai Ouroussoff’s other candidates for demolition will be posted here periodically.

To view the complete slideshow at the New York Times site, click here.

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