Monday, April 7, 2014

Butt-Fugly Building: Wanamaker House

2020 Walnut

                  I'm pretty sure this is what Lieutenant Commander Data's hydraulic penis looks like. Fucking ugly as shit. A big rectangular turd in one of the city's best neighborhoods. A mismatched piece of asstrash surrounded by beautiful architecture from many ages, almost making it seem worse through the juxtaposition. Then there's the name. Wanamaker House. 1) Its not a fucking house, its a building! and 2) That's not John Wanamaker's House!
            This building, if you can call it that, started because of a fire. In 1978, the Scott-Wanamaker House at 2032 Walnut Street, which had just been head-to-toe renovated five years earlier, went up in flames. Much of the interior was burned up but the facade was left intact. After three years, the hulking remains of the house still stood empty and was slated for demolition. Even after the house was completely prepped to come down and with machinery and shit on site, preservationists were able to save the old place.
            That same year (1981), WH Venture out of Chicago came along with plans to build a badass condominium building that would not only fill the huge empty lot next to the Scott-Wanamaker House, but make use of the old mansion as well. It would be named Wanamaker House after the mansion. Since it was the early 1980s, badass meant a cement and steel piece of shit that looks like Voltron's favorite dildo with goofy-looking townhouses on each street-facing side. The Walnut Street-facing houses look totally out-of-place, mostly because they are nowhere near as tall as the old row-mansions that fill the rest of the block. The shitty design came from Otto Spier and Hugh
The rendering. Someone actually PLANNED for it to look this bad!
          By the time the first units were on sale at the end of 1981, they didn't sell well. 300 out of the 333 units (basically everything that wasn't a townhouse or penthouse) was leased as apartments instead. In 1984, WH Venture defaulted on their loan on the asscastle and their bank foreclosed on it. Later that year, the bank failed and the FDIC took ownership. Sounds like this pile of Duplo dogshit is pretty bad luck. It went up for sale in 1988 and was sold for $36 million to Unity Capital Partners of Great Neck, NY. They converted the apartments back to condos and sold the fuck out of them. Condos were hot at the time and the only other new condo building in the same hood at the time (the Rittenhouse) was stuck in half-built construction limbo.

Robo-Cock. Rise!!
                All these years later, Wanamaker House has aged horribly for being a 33-year-old building. It looks dated enough to guess a construction date of the early 70s instead of the early 80s. As implied above, it sticks out like a sore taint above all that other great architecture that surrounds it. Where were the NIMBYs when this shit was built? Oh, and thanks for the three huge garage doors on the 2000 block of Walnut. Way to fit in, shitty building! Feh!

Again, thanks.


  1. GroJLart, you're a life saver. Being eye-raped on a daily basis by buildings like this makes me want to kill myself. Knowing that at least one other person is as pissed off as I am about steaming-pile-of-shit-in-your-face architecture somehow makes things better. Thanks.