The return of Fugly Architecture Thursday

I had a blog post all ready to go last night, and then I recieved a challenge on twitter by one of my best friends from grad school to resurrect my "Fugly Architecture Thursday" series.  I hadn't thought about it since I left grad school, but I had definitely seen my fair share of nasty looking buildings here in New Orleans. and one automatically jumped to the front in my mind. 

When people think of what lines the shores of the scenic Mississippi River, usually the image of stately antebellum plantations, bustling ports and sprawling parks come to mind.  That's semi-true in new Orleans.

Enter the Army Corps of Engineers.  Yes, yes, I know they have a terrible reputation post-Katrina (which they are working tirelessly to redeem themselves in current work), but NOTHING will redeem them for this abomination of a building.

Does anyone else think it looks remarkably just like a bunker?  Stretching four blocks in the VERY historic uptown/Black Pearl area, it is constructed of  steel panels and glass.  Those materials can be beautiful if used in an appropriate way.  BUT, this is what happens when an engineer is brought in to do an architect's job.  My husband's an engineer and loves this building because it is "practical."  He makes my case for me.  Granted, it can withstand hurricane force winds, but so can most of the gorgeous historic New Orleans buildings that have done that very task for centuries without looking like a building from Soviet Russia.  And just so you don't think it is only the back that looks horrid, here's the view from the Mississippi:

What a view!  At least they incorporated curves on this side as well as that fancy little fanned portico over the entrance.  So now it has gone from looking like a Cold-war era bunker to a Soviet designed cruise ship (which come to think about it, wouldn't be a fun cruise at all...).  Oh engineers, when will you learn that yes, form should follow function, but form should also follow CONTEXT!

I would LOVE to hear your comments about this particular fugly piece of architecture (do you agree or disagree with me?).  Also, if you have your own peice of fugly architecture that you pass every day, I'd love to feature it on what looks like will be an every Thursday feature.  All hail ugly architecture!

1 comment:

x said...

terrible! who did this an what were they thinking? it probably was an engineer that "designed" it? i will post a lovely one to twitter later. it is another building that fits well with suburban surroundings and historical context. @larissantoro

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