Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Butt-Fugly Building(s) of the Week-- November 1st

Centre Square Towers

1500 Market Street

Asser Square.
                     These two buildings prove that the 1970's plus architecture multiplied by Vincent Kling = Shit! These two concrete Boredom Boxes are what you get when Kling is trying to be creative. No matter how many times they redesign or renovate the plaza between them, these two buildings sit there looking like shit.
                  It started in the late 50's and early 60's. Ed Bacon was looking for an architect that was dumb enough to commit to a huge redevelopment plan that had no backers and no budget. Louis Kahn was asked but he was like "FUCK no!", so they went with Vincent Kling. By 1967, Bacon and Kahn managed to take down some of the city's most beautiful buildings and replace them with flat-ass boxes. One of the only relics left was the former site of the Harrison Building, a perfectly preserved 19th Century awesomecastle which had been demolished in 1969 for these pieces of shit.
                  Developer Jack Wolgin jumped on the opportunity and wanted something more than a box from Vincent Kling. Kling came up with two slightly different boxes with the corners cut off connected by a lobby/plaza thing. That was as far as his creativity could go.

Early rendering for the Centre Square Towers.
                             Now, I must say that the original plan for these things was for them to be covered in a facade of stainless steel... this would have given the buildings a little more style... but when the project started running over budget, Wolgin said "Fuck it, we'll do it live! Make it out of concrete! WE'LLDOITLIVE!!!! Fuckin' thing SUCKS!" Construction began in 1972.

Under confucktion.
                     Wolgin loved shitty art so he commissioned the crappiest garbage he could think of for the percent-for-art requirement. The most infamous of these was the big-ass clothespin by Claes Oldenburg, while the others, a DuBuffet and a Calder are so unmemorable that no one even cares to think about them. Once complete, the building complex was considered super-asstastic awesome. Companies moved right in, the largest being Towers Perrin, a "consulting" firm that is still there. The buildings are credited with bringing big business to west Market. Whoop-de-shit.
                    In 2002, the complex was sold to a new owner and they eventually got Daroff Design to create a new lobby and plaza for the building a few years later in order to make it less butt-fugly. The new plaza works a lot better than the old one, but the towers remain brown stained pieces of shit. Wolgin should have plunked down the extra cash for some stainless steel instead of that shitbag sidewalk they built them out of. Dumbass.

1 comment:

  1. Eh, there's been worse. I hate the Clothespin, but Centre Square overall isn't so bad. There are a lot of American flags on Market St. What's not to like?