Monday, June 9, 2014

Butt-Fugly Building: 1521 Locust

1521 Locust Street

           T-- B-- Wha?!?!? What the fuck is this shit? I've probably walked by this building about 10,000 times in the last 11 years and somehow I never noticed it. I mean, really... this building is about as ugly and boring as ugly and boring gets. What a pile of crap. A big dirty concrete column with shit cladding and tiny windows. Somebody really fucked up with this one.
            This building is a relic from the 1970s revitalization of the 15th/Locust area, and seems to be the first (or at least oldest surviving) piece of construction from that attempt. Back then, the 1950s and 1960s construction of Penn Center was spreading its success further south, into old an old office neighborhood that hadn't seen its heyday since the 1930s. Real estate speculators started to get a hard-on for the neighborhood, recognizing its potential to be something great.
              In 1971, 1521-23 Locust was holding a 1922-built 8-story building that was falling apart. A partnership of realtors calling themselves "Executive Associates" lead by a Henry B. Cohen took control of the space and proposed a small new 10-story office building with the help of the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development. They then commissioned an architect named Anthony Orifice to design them the best possible piece of design you can produce in the period, which meant a bunch of concrete and tiny windows that are right next to each other. Essentially, Anthony Orifice pulled this pile of shit straight out of HIS orifice. Its not like they didn't know what they would get-- the most major piece of architecture ever designed by this dude was West Park Hospital up at 3905 Ford Road, now Wordsworth Academy and Jefferson Transitional Rehab.

Pulled from the same Orifice. I'm such a nice guy that I'll show you a pic of the building when it was brand new. Its actually not TOO bad. This guy should have stuck to suburbitecture. Image from the PAB.
             The old building at 1521 Locust got demolished later in 1971 and that demolition lead to a bunch of lawsuits, because this is Philadelphia. The building was finished by 1973. A couple of years later Academy House was built nearby, followed by 1500 Locust across the street. The neighborhood managed to change into a vibrant and modern area while still hanging on to its roots (McGlinchey's, for example). The offices have stayed relatively well-occupied since, and the storefront at the bottom has held everything from bars to video stores to the Jewish deli that occupies it today.
             That's great and all, but this piece of shit needs to be replaced with something a little less... well.. 1970s-ish. They could even preserve the building but completely replace the facade. Even better: get the Mural Arts motherfuckers to whip up something to liven-up that shitbird facade. At this point, they could paint some actual shitbirds on it and it would look better. Feh.

Look at that big-ass party wall on the side. Maybe that could be painted with a mural of a good-looking building?


  1. Not a good thing when you look at an office building and mistakenly think "It's not the worst looking parking garage I've ever seen."

  2. Your commentary is cracking me up! I love it!