Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- November 15th

The Rittenhouse Savoy

1810 Rittenhouse Square

                       Buildings like this are why NIMBYs exist. This is supposed to be a residential tower? Those shitbag ribbon windows make it look like an old dilapidated hospital. This style of facade was the shit that dictated butt-fugly buildings for decades to come. Even in its own time, it was hated. Now that its aged (badly), it makes even more of a stink today.
                      As we all know by now, the mid-20th Century is when architecture went to shit. This building and its slightly less fugly brother, the Claridge, represent the some of the beginnings of that architectural assness hitting Philadelphia. The Savoy was first introduced to the Center City Residents Association in February 1950. NIMBYs came at it in full force, and rightly so. Some unoccupied historical old rowhouses stood in the way of the development.
This aerial view from 1950 shows the historically significant rowhouses that the NIMBYs were trying to save.
                      The builders and newspapers all assumed that the residents hated the building because of its height, but that's a stupid assumption... the Square already had tall buildings that had been there for decades. The NIMBYs were more worried about the shitty look of the horizontal-ribbon windowed exterior fucking up the beauty of their pretty-ass Square.
                     You see, the Rittenhouse NIMBYs of that age considered themselves heroes. They had just come off of squashing a horribly-thought-out plan to turn the Square into an underground parking garage, so they were reveling in their newly-discovered powers. They literally shouted down the parking lot developer until he gave the fuck up.

This right here proves that the NIMBYs of old were true heroes...today, not so much. Check out the early rendering of the Savoy that was included.
                    To calm down the NIMBYs, the developer of the Savoy, some dude named Kaiserman, assured them that the architects' drawings were rendered in such a way that the facade only APPEARED overly horizontal. He stated that vertical lines would also be included in the composition of the facade. Of course, he was lying through his teeth. Look at that thing. That's a horizontal as horizontal gets. Kaiserman had no respect for the Square. He just figured that people hate new shit so it was just natural opposition to have to deal with. I guess he didn't wear his glasses enough back then or something because the Savoy is ugly as fuck in any time period.
                     Despite the NIMBY powers at hand, the Square had its new butt-fugly piece of shit Savoy building, along with its bro, the Claridge, by the end of 1951. Though the Savoy is pretty nice on the inside, the Square really gets uglied up by it, especially now that its getting old. What a fuck up. Other ugly-ass Rittenhouse buildings in later decades would be sequels to this mess. Thanks a lot, Kaiserman.

No comments:

Post a Comment