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New Haven Votes to Demolish Roche's Veterans' Memorial Coliseum

The Board of Aldermen of New Haven, Conn. voted in late January to allocate $6 million toward the demolition of the Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum. The sports arena, designed by Kevin Roche and opened in 1972, will be replaced by a hotel and convention complex and a new home for the nationally-known Long Wharf Theatre. The redevelopment is part of a larger project to renew a run-down section of New Haven. The project also includes the demolition of two former department store buildings to make way for Gateway Community College. The 1970 Knights of Columbus Building, also designed by Kevin Roche/John Dinkeloo & Associates, will remain as a part of the new development.

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Though there has been consistent opposition to the demolition of the Coliseum, notably from the New Haven Urban Design League, the Coliseum was not universally loved . One website devoted to saving the Coliseum, http://savenhc.tripod.com, even proposes sheathing the imposing brown brick and Cor-ten steel structure in glass. Even the Urban Design League objects to the project more on urban design principles than on the architectural importance of the building.

Demolition of the Coliseum is expected to take a year. Architects for the new buildings will be hired in Winter and Spring of 2005.

Kevin Lerner

 

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