Photography: Joseph W. Molitor. Courtesy Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation.

15 September 2020: Paul Rudolph’s Burroughs Wellcome Company building in Durham, North Carolina, is facing a demolition order that could see the sci-fi-style headquarters destroyed.

Despite promising to refurb the building, current owner United Therapeutics, has since applied for and received a permit to demolish it. The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation is currently campaigning to rescue the structure.

Burroughs Wellcome building designed by Paul Rudolph is now facing demolition
Photography: bobistraveling via Flickr

The Burroughs Wellcome headquarters were completed in 1972 and encompassed research labs, a library, cafeteria and auditorium, and offices. Its sloping, terraced facade was designed to accommodate the inclined ridge the building sits on, but it also proved popular in the world of sci-fi – featuring in the 1983 film Brainstorm. Paul Rudolph himself compared the architecture to ‘a growing tree’.

Inside the Wellcome Building's sleek interiors which have also starred on the big-screen in 1980s sci-fi movie Brainstorm
Photography: Joseph W. Molitor. Courtesy Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation.

United Therapeutics, a biotech company, acquired the building in 2012 and demolished part of it two years later. The remaining section is now also at risk, with the company claiming renovation is not possible. Over 1,300 people have signed the foundation’s petition so far.

[h/t The Architect’s Newspaper]

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