Monday, December 7, 2009

Texas Courthouses - the Old and New

Victoria County Courthouse, built in 1892.

The 'Modern' Victoria County Courthouse, built in 1967.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Modern Church Architecture

"[T]he Church is the house of God, dedicated to his holy worship, and therefore ought to remind us both of the greatness and goodness of his Divine Majesty."

This building isn't a testament to the greatness and goodness of God. Rather, it reminds us post-modern trendiness, of lego-blocks with portholes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rafael Moneo

A historic block? Fuck it. A beautiful plaza? Time for a "Moneo Mushroom Stamp." Why? Cuz I'm Rafael Moneo, and I can do what I wanna do.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jean Nouvel

Minneapolis or Metroplis, 2050?

In Barcelona, a big dildo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Nothing quite says 'House of God' like a steel building. Just take a generic plan for a warehouse, throw a steeple on top and a cross on the side, and you're good to go.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Texas, again.

Comparing early Texas Courthouses with modern Texas Courthouses.

Above is the Brazoria County Courthouse, built in 1897.

Above is the Brazoria County Courthouse, built in 1967.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

City Halls in Texas

El Paso's City Hall

City Hall in Austin, Texas

City Hall in Dallas, Texas

Three absolute failures.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Koolhaas - Seattle Central Library

Perhaps it isn't ugly, just imposing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


This is a "chaplet" (chapel-et, get it?) of artist Marjorie Schlossman (with contributions from architects and contractors). A handful of chaplets were made and put in random locations. Part of their purpose was to create a "sacred space."

Was this goal realized? Well, nothing says sacred like the parking lot behind Sears. (See photo.) I can imagine the bums and prostitutes will put it to a good use.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Luigi Bocconi University

Luigi Bocconi University

Luigi Bocconi University is a private university in Milan. Around a year ago, this building was named the World Building of the Year at the inaugural World Architecture Festival. Judges called it a "magic subterranean realm," whatever that means. These judges have less credibility than an ordinary citizen, who can likely see for himself that the building is ugly, imposing, and unwelcoming.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Brasilia Cathedral

Supremo Tribunal Federal Brasília

Brasilia is a World Heritage site, described by UNESCO as, "a landmark in the history of town planning." Brasilia was planned and developed in the 1950s by planner Lucio Costa, and the city's architect was Oscar Niemeyer.

The city's design emphasizes both the need for easy transportation and the necessity of transportation. In other words, the city is designed around the car, for the car. Uses are separated, making the city unwalkable. The city's modern architecture is uninviting and bland and sterile. Brazil's capitol is a futuristic concrete wasteland, a contradiction of it's own character and people. There may be no greater failure of modern city planning and of modern architecture.

Brasilia Museu Nacional da República

National Library in Brasilia

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Indiana University Art Museum

Another ugly concrete building designed by Pei & Partners.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Los Angeles - LAPD Headquarters

And yet another ugly modern building in Los Angeles, this time courtesy of the LAPD. The palm trees are there for show, not for function. The reflection off the glass is supposedly blinding. Slits for windows, angles that destroy any sort of relationship with the street. Give it ten years before the community starts to say WTF was LA thinking?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pei and Sullivan's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University

This blog could probably dedicate itself to ugly I.M. Pei-associated buildings. Here's the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University. It's an award-winning project of the 70's, the decade that gave us bad presidents, bad clothes, bad cars, and bad buildings. I guess we're supposed to be impressed with concrete rectangles. Note the trendy art sitting on the lawn.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

DC: 3rd Church of Christ

Not one to be outdone, of course, is the Third Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. There was a historical preservation issue with this this ugly Brutalist building - the church didn't want it, some DC historical commission did. Thankfully the church won out and it'll be eventually razed.

If only all other Brutalist buildings would have a similar fate.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Los Angeles: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Drive the 101 through Los Angeles and you'll see this $190 million modern monstrosity (from this angle, too). Forget any notion that a church should look like a church, or at least outwardly express the beauty and sacredness of its purpose.