Monday, January 26, 2009

Ugly Ugly Ugly

I want to complain about the ugliest building I have ever seen. Not only is it uglier than sin, but it's also the worst possible selection for it's location.

The building I'm talking about is the Near North Branch of the Chicago Public Library (above).

First of all, let's talk about building materials. Chicago prides itself on architectural detailing, and is a Mecca for Architecture students around the world because of our fabulous historic architecture. Why, oh why, then was this library built using concrete block? So ugly, so low-budget, so out of place. It looks like it belongs in the suburbs.

Secondly, while all of the adjacent buildings are high rise apartment buildings, offices, and stores, the library is a measly 1-story building that is, to say the least, unimpressive. Why waste the valuable air and zoning rights, which so obviously might let you go 40 or 50 stories? Why sacrifice tons more possible real estate value by allowing a one story building in this district? Heaven only knows.

When compared with some of the other libraries in the City (there are 79 branches to the CPL), this one is truly put to shame. See some of the examples below:

Harold Washington Library

Former City Library (now the Chicago Cultural Center)

Rogers Park Branch (my neighborhood!)

And I have the same beef with the Chase Banks I've been seeing built recently. Seriously, who puts a one-story building in the middle of the city? Poor planning, and shame on the city for allowing it to happen.

And that's my rant for the evening.


Amy said...

EW - you're totally right...I would only add that I HATE HATE HATE circular windows. HATE THEM! Hmm, this shitty building is can we add some insta-whimsy? I KNOW! A big round window, $2.99 from Home Despot! Can we say "poverty of architectural imagination"?

Jenn Sutherland said...

Wow. That is ugly. Ouch. I didn't know you were a RoPa resident. I am too...and live probably a little too close to the wine shop for my own health. :)

Subway Gal said...

Those are some pretty impressive libraries. But also intimidating at the same time. Upon entering I think I'd be so overwhelmed and wouldn't even know where to start that I would probably run out the door screaming.

Red from Ktown said...

But were all of these other buildings ALL LIBRARIES in their former lives?? Or did the Libraries just happen to reside there now. I agree, not the pretties of buildings, but the City also prides itself on diversity in ALL things, and I do believe that means buildings too.

Don't hate me, but I actually kinda like the gray & turquoise. It is truly an 'original.'