Thursday, January 26, 2012

Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- January 26th

James Aloysius Byrne Federal Courthouse

601 Market Street

                    Is this supposed to be a courthouse? I wouldn't want this to be a shithouse. It looks like the Royal Tomb of King Butt. Even worse, this building has been consciously trying (unsuccessfully) to destroy itself.
                     Philadelphia is home to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In the late 60's, the Robert Nix Federal Courthouse/William Penn Annex Post Office Megalith at 9th and Market wasn't cutting the mustard. A new high tech and gigantic federal court building was needed. The Federal land next to Independence Mall was chosen for the location? Why? The Bicentennial was coming up, motherfucker!!!
                     The land surrounding the Mall must be cursed or something. Butt-fugler after Butt-fugler after Butt-fugler keeps getting built there. This giant bitch-bastard is no exception. Lots of visitors from around the world get their first impression of Philly architecture at the butt-ass Mall. King Kong's Butt-Plug here is the tallest and most prominent of the crappy buildings surrounding it.
                     Once proposed, a design would be needed. Who do you get to do a major Philadelphia building? A New York-based architect, of course. LZA Technology was chosen to design this shameful structure through their manz potz an' panz, Dan Peter Koppel and Associates.
                     The courthouse began construction in 1973 and took two goddamn years to build. The building, somehow aware of its own ugliness, immediately decided to destroy itself by any means necessary. Before it was even completed, it started to sink... burrowing itself underground so it would suffocate. The attempt was unsuccessful and the Fed sued the builder after it was fixed in 1975, jacking up the price of the building to $91 million.
                    After that, the building languished in ugliness for years, then attempted to drown itself. In the winter of 1993, the building froze its pipes until they burst, flooding a $3 million law library that had just opened. Again, the attempt was unsuccessful. After that, the building just said "Fuck it!" and started dropping bricks off of its facade. Five years of this really started to irritate people. In 1998, 25 million dollars of federal funds was thrown away replacing the roof, window seals, and THE ENTIRE BRICK FACADE.

Covered in scaffolding. For years.
                        The renovation took fucking forever and the building has stood silent ever since. In 2010, another $22 million dollars was burned "greening" it and the rest of the Byrne-Green Federal Complex. There's barely an original piece of this thing left. 
                        The building has an unusual facade feature. A giant quote saying "Justice, the Guardian of Liberty" on it. It should say "Here come some bricks... ASSHOLE!!" This building has been called "the last of the luxury federal courthouses". There's nothing luxurious about this Stinking Monolith of Monkey Butts. I'd hate to see the ones that aren't considered luxurious. I don't know much about who James A. Byrne is but he must have been a dick if they named this Brick Bunghole after him. Fuck.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Honestly I wish other things further west on Market would just get started so we didn't have crap building like this to stare at. What about the Disney/Target-hole at 8th & Market? Or the Girard block? And what's PREIT gonna do about the Gallery? Come onnnnn already.

  3. Dear God, I despise this bldg. To me, it's the perfect physical representation of the brutish nature of our ever expanding and unacountable federal govt. And that wall along Market would make Erich Honecker blush. 22 million for "greening"? Really? How long's the payback on that? A millenium?

  4. You really should have went inside to see the room sized shitty artwork there.

    A couple of years ago, I noticed plagues on the walls there enticing people inside to see "Bicentennial Dawn". I was spending a few hours exploring while I was down that way, so WTF. I've lived here my whole life pretty much and never heard of Bicentennial Dawn, so lemme see that jawn!

    You can see it though the windows... maybe it sucks less if you see it from inside.

    This work dates from the bicentennial when you could just walk into a federal courthouse. Now it's 10 years after 9-11 and you have to get strip searched and irradiated to get in. And they keep your camera you for you so it won't shatter attempting to capture the shittyness of "Bicentennial Dawn".

    So if you think the building blows, get a look at what crap it has sitting its gut all the time. No wonder it wants to self-destruct.

  5. Have you ever covered it's shitty glass box neighbor, the William J. Green Jr. Federal Building? What a turd that is

  6. Tragically, this is where they naturalize citizens who change their names (has to be signed off by a judge).