Seattle’s Kingdome got blown up yesterday (to view some extremely cool video of the event, click here), and the long-planned demolition of New York’s Coliseum has finally begun. There’s no guarantee that their replacements will be an improvement, of course, but for the moment, the loss of these two ugly behemoths is an unambiguous gain for U.S. architecture. Conceivably, it may also be the start of a trend. Should it continue, here are a few very large, very ugly buildings Chatterbox nominates for demolition:
Boston’s Prudential Center. The tragedy of downtown Boston, one of the nation’s loveliest urban settings, is that its skyline is dominated by the Prudential Tower. The shopping complex at the base is even uglier.
Washington’s Watergate Complex. Although best known for the historic 1972 break-in that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation (and, to a lesser extent, as the former home of Monica Lewinsky), the Watergate was the scene of an architectural scandal long before any political ones. Chatterbox has a mild phobia about the balconies, which look like giant teeth.
New York’s 2 Columbus Circle. As long as the wreckers are in the neighborhood, why not pull down the second-ugliest building on Columbus Circle? (The Coliseum being the first.) This mausoleumlike tower was built in 1964 by Edward Durell Stone (architect of Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, another strong candidate for demolition) to house Huntington Hartford’s short-lived Gallery of Modern Art. It’s now owned by the City of New York, which recently announced that it wants to sell. Any chance the site could be left undeveloped and turned into a small piazza? Just asking …
Los Angeles’ L.A. County Museum of Art. The L.A. County Art Museum was, until about a decade ago, a museum with an excellent art collection housed in a nondescript-but-unobjectionable complex of buildings. To remedy this small edifice problem, the museum built an elaborate addition that would probably look fine if it weren’t grafted onto the earlier structure, with which it clashes unforgivably. Time to tear the whole thing down and start again.
Nashville’s Parthenon. Who needs it? There’s already one in Athens! In general, anything called the “Coliseum,” the “Forum,” the “Parthenon,” or the “Acropolis” that is not located in Rome or Athens is probably worth dynamiting.
Do you have any buildings you’d like to see demolished? Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the URL of a Web site containing a photograph of the offending building.
Photographs of: Seattle’s Kingdome by Anthony P. Bolante/Reuters; Boston’s Prudential Tower © Lee Snider/Corbis; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art by Dave G. Houser/Corbis.