The Null Device

Eyesore of the Month

Eyesore of the Month. Each month, James Howard Kunstler presents a photograph of a different architectural or urban-planning blight, accompanied by a brief and entertaining rant about the decline and fall of American civilisation (references to obese children, Prozac usage and "Car Park Nation" abound):
When your building has no meaningful relation with the public realm, the solution is to "export" the cartoons played within the house to the exterior. The neighborhood is then "populated" with recognizable, non-threatening figures. Once the installation is complete, the homeowner is released from any further obligation to public life, except to mow and trim the grass. The homeowner is then "free" to pursue a life devoted to television viewing. Such is life in the Home of the Brave.
The shark's head portion of this ensemble is probably its best feature -- putting aside any considerations of kitsch or "camp," ( that is, the love of vulgarity for its own sake.) No, what gets me, really, is the quality of the pink building behind Sharky. In a perfect world its function would be a poodle euthenasia center.
Here we have the old courthouse in Biloxi, Mississippi, (left) and its 1970s replacement (right) -- the sublime and the ridiculous. The old building is garbed in the architectural vestments of authority in decorum. The new courthouse invokes arbitrary bureaucratic despotism. Note to political economists: the building on the left came from a far less affluent society than the one at right.
(via jwz)

There are 6 comments on "Eyesore of the Month":

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com/ Sat Dec 13 04:56:02 2003

WTF!? ...

http://www.kunstler.com/eyesore_200311.html

Posted by: Ben-Gurion Jacarutu http://dev.null.org Sat Dec 13 12:36:09 2003

That is one UGLY building.

Posted by: Alex http://128.169.1.1 Sun Dec 14 09:10:29 2003

Kinda reminds me of the RMIT building in Swanston St ...

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/ Sun Dec 14 11:19:49 2003

Heh.

Or the Menzies Building at Monash University.

Posted by: Claire http://www.eskimo.com/~c/ Wed Dec 24 08:42:58 2003

I went to school in Albany for a year, and used to hang out around the Empire State Plaza (http://www.kunstler.com/eyesore_200305.html). I thought it was amazing. It was so clearly meant to be the set for some scifi movie about a totalitarian state.

The inside is even better -- vast, echoing, empty marble corridors.

Posted by: Claire http://www.eskimo.com/~c/ Wed Dec 24 08:43:48 2003

(The building at the end is the New York State Library and New York State Museum, BTW.)

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