Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- August 9th

1700 Market (aka Industrial Valley Bank Building)

1700 Market Street

Concrete puke in the form of a building.
                        Now here's an unforgiving concrete pile of donkey shit. There should be a huge warning sign at the top of this motherfucker that says "See What Happens When You Build a Skyscraper Out of Sidewalk?" This browned-up tower of filth is was the tallest building constructed in the city during the 1960's. That's pretty fucking pathetic. It looks like the concrete brother-in-law of the Municipal Services Building.
                      This Tower of Cement Ballsacks is the result of horrible 60's-era fartchitecture. Industrial Valley Bank was one of the region's largest banks in the mid-20th Century. They were working out of offices scattered throughout the metropolitan area and needed a central office building. They decided to build it at 17th and Market, taking advantage of the new and successful Penn Center.
                       IVB wanted their new building to be "space age" so they called on the coolest new architects of the time, the firm of Marvin Levy Wurman. They came up with a slim tall skyscraper, but IVB rejected the fuck out of it for not being "space age" enough. They approved their second design, which was this:

The rendering. They thought it would stay white forever. HAHAHAHA.
                Yay, another building with a parking garage pedestal. IVB thought they were cool as shit with this thing. They wanted it to be built using the latest, greatest, and cheapest construction techniques. In 1967, that meant bringing in concrete panels on a truck and fastening them together like legos.

Under confucktion.
                        You know how in modern times everybody goes all apeshit over "green building techniques" and any excuse to say "sustainable" 5,000 times? This is what that building was like in 1967. They were so proud of being able to put up a 430 foot building so quickly and for such a low materials cost. The company that engineered the building even put double-truck ads in magazines and shit about it.

Is that Diane von Furstenberg? Probably not, just confused as to why there's a 1000-foot-tall woman inspecting the construction.
                        After the building was complete, it became the premiere piece of construction in the city. It was all shiny and white and dominated the western part of the skyline. It was even used as a staging area in the early 70's for a new city tourism campaign.

View from the west in the 70's. Did I mention it has a big blank concrete wall in the back?
Was already starting to get dirty by time the IBM building to the right was built.
                     By 1986 Industrial Valley Bank failed and the building was renamed 1700 Market, becoming another annoying building named after it's address. Within the next year Liberty One was built next door and in the next few years other taller buildings surrounded it, causing this pile of shit to fall into obscurity.
                    Currently, 1700 Market is a piece of shit. It was ugly in the 60's and even uglier now... it's all browned up and shit. Those super-smart motherfuckers who thought a concrete building was a good idea obviously never saw an old browned-up sidewalk and made the connection.
                    The building keeps changing hands between owners, which is always a bad sign. It was purchased by a Chicago developer in 2004 and was put up for sale only 7 years later. A Brooklyn investor is now into it, taking on the burden of it's 150,000 square feet of vacant office space. Good fucking luck. The only way you could improve this Rectangle of Rusty Elephant Balls is to knock it the fuck down.


  1. I agree with every word. And then some.

  2. They could've saved some money by rotating the letters of IVB to make 1700 instead.

  3. IVB didn't fail, dude... it was sold to someone. I forget. But get your facts straight if you want to be a dick.

  4. It was acquired by Fidel-Cor (now Wachovia/Wells Fargo) in 1986. I'll be a dick regardless of accuracy.

  5. Welp I was pretty intrigued when I found this blog a few hours ago and now I'm just annoyed. That kind of "attitude" is what made me quit following Loladelphia, too. Philly needs good architecture and planning blogs in the absence of phillyskyline.com. Like, good, smart, informed and opinionated writing. Not some whiny smartass shouting into the void inaccurately.

  6. First thing is, I'm not smart, never been informed, mildly opinionated, and no damn good.

    Second thing is, I never claimed this blog to be some kind of historical record. Ed Bacon never slapped guys with his cock to get Penn Center built, Frank Rizzo never gave the governor a headlock to build the CCCC, Willis G. Hale never fucked a granite mountain and gave birth to the Record Building. Lighten the fuck up, this is just for fun.

    Try Naked Philly, it's been a pretty good replacement for Philly Skyline.

    ...Or start your own blog, it's not that hard. If I could do it, anyone can.