Thursday, February 23, 2012

Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- February 23rd

1500 Locust

1500 Locust Street

This is the nicest angle of it, without the massive parking garage, and it still looks like fucktography. Image by legendary Philaphile Brad Maule.
                        Here's one of those buildings that reminds you how horrible the 1970's were to architecture. In almost any other decade (except the 50's or 60's), a luxury apartment highrise such as this one would have SOME measure of design to it... this motherfucker has none. It looks like a crappy factory building with smaller windows and less interesting details.
                       Not only that, but it probably has the most conspicuously shitty parking garage pedestal I've ever seen. An exposed concrete box that runs 13 stories up. That's farbage ba-garbage. The shittyness of this structure began in the early 70's. At the time, an attempt to bring more residents back to the city was in full effect.
                        The vast majority of the city's workforce lived in the burbs and feared the city. This shitbox was created to house that segment of the workforce who was sick of driving or taking the train to work everyday. The residential buildings that already existed at the time were outdated and obsolete. This place would be new and modern with amenities galore, serving the former burb-dwellers' every need.
                       An empty lot existed at the Southwest corner of 15th and Locust with one crappy small building on it. This would be the perfect spot for a new luxury apartment highrise, the tallest residential building ever constructed in the city at the time... 360 feet of fuck.

The lot and building 1500 Locust replaced as seen from 15th and Latimer in 1961.
                 The new building would be called 1500 Locust, after its address. Goddammit!! I hate buildings with huge parking garage pedestals and I REALLY hate when buildings are named their address. They couldn't figure out a fucking name for it? Is it really that hard? They could have called it the Boxitecture House or the Brick Bastard Apartments. How about Parking Garage Tower? The Locust Shitbird? Construction began in 1972 and was finished in 1973.

Under Confucktion. "Parking Garage is done, now let's start the building!" -Confucktion Worker.
                    The apartment was a huge success. Though shitty-looking, it enlivened a previously declining neighborhood and spawned a less butt-fugly little brother, Academy House. At least that one has a name. The two buildings together, along with the presence of the kick-ass Lewis Tower (now Aria), make 15th and Locust the most delightfully shady corner in the city. All those NIMBYs that whine about shadows all the time need to go to 15th and Locust on a hot summer day and feel how nice and cool it is. That'll learn 'em.
When it was nearly complete in 1972. So boring.


  1. I was walking along South Street over the weekend and saw this eyesore from there. I was going to take a picture and send it off to you asking when you were going to add this one to your list. I don't know which I hate worse, this one with it's parking garage or the Academy house with it's buisness Bermuda Triangle entrance along Locust Street or the misplaced cement circles along 15th.

  2. This is indeed butt-fugly. However, the architect can't be JK Roller, which didn't exist until the early mid 1980's. My dad, who is the founder of JKR, was probably only a year or two out of school at the time. Love the site, keep up the good work!

    - Jacob Roller

  3. They should definitely rename it to Brick Bastard Apartments.

  4. Maybe JK Roller did the renovation.

  5. The recent lobby renovation? I'm not sure, but I don't believe they did that either. Either way it makes sense to correct the original post.


  6. The only good thing about that building was the 24-hour Wawa. Gone!

  7. The outside may not be the best but the inside is awesome!! Check it out one day, it may change your mind!

  8. Spoke with my dad. He says his firm did a canopy for them about 10 years ago, which has since been replaced. Also, he agrees with your assessment of the building.

  9. Have you ever noticed that the air conditioning units constantly spit water onto Locust Street? At least I hope it's condensation from the air conditioning units.

  10. This reminds me of the buildings that pop up in SimCity when you're losing.