I work in an industrial park, and I know that you have to be prepared for changes, but back in the spring they sawed down most of the trees across from our parking lot. I hoped they’d keep a few for landscaping if they were putting in a new building, but, no, they sawed down everything, then bulldozed the lot, then began a series of operations that looked as if they were digging things up and burying them again, punctuated by frequent blasting that shook our building. They seemed to be taking forever to level the site.
Last week they started casting the walls. The conceptual drawing they’d posted on the site made it look as if one of those modern glass-and-steel mirrored box buildings stuffed with offices was going up. But the walls that went up were almost completely sheer and blank, with only a very rare rectangle cut in for a door, or higher up either for a lonely window or for ventilation. Sheer, blank, walls that went on and on across the entire width of the building, on both sides. Unless this was some weird construction method where they’d go through later and punch out the windows, this wasn’t going to be an office. Or even a laboratory or construction space. This was going to be another damned warehouse.
And the walls were UGLY. There were all kinds of patterning and colors, and not in a good way. You know about the architectural style called Brutalism, where you have walls made out of poured and cast concrete, with all its flaws glaringly obvious (and made worse by rain)? Well, Brutalist architecture is warm and fuzzy compared to these discolored walls.
It appears that there are some large cutout areas near one corner of the building, and which will feature large glass walls. But that’s only one corner – probably the offices. The rest of the building is worse than brutalist scabrous nauseous-colored concrete with no redeeming social value. And it’s right across from us. Yech.
It looks like the images of the Arcology in Niven and Pournelle’s novel Oath of Fealty, but without the charm.
They put up something similar in my town, and despite the landlord’s assurances to the contrary, it looks just like all the Amazon distribution centers we’ve ever seen. Local folks screamed blood murder about installing Amazon in an already crowded, trafficky area, but the landlord blandly asserts that it isn’t intended as a distribution center.
But once the brouhaha over its completion dies down, I’m sure they’ll rent it out to Amazon.
On the bright side, Cal, after they cut down the trees and trucked away all the topsoil on the site, maybe they’ll put an expanse of lawn and some struggling young trees and shrubs for landscaping.
I don’t know if it’s a form of Ohio Brutalism, but the new school buildings that have been going up in the district near where I used to live tend to lack windows and are reminiscent of penitentiaries. Imagine the joy of high school students entering this structure for another day of learning:
I’m not an architect, but if I had to decide I would say that the school is not Brutalist because the concrete is not emphasizing its concreteness but rather is trying to look like marble or wood trim. I agree that it does not look very pleasant to walk into every day, though.
I can’t find any real pictures online – only the conceptual drawings, which either don’t look like the building, or else make it look too goddam good. None of them convey the parti-nottled color and huge oppressive cast concrete walls.
This will give you an idea. But imagine far fewer windows, and radom weird coloring on the walls:
Or this picture, without the redeeming plants, and with weird splotchy colors on the walls.
This is a high school near my house, remodeled sometime in the early 00s. First time I drove past it I was certain it was a prison. I remember turning to my wife and saying “Shouldn’t there be a fence or something around that thing?”
That is exactly what sprang to my mind - there is a slammer on the way from our house to the submarine base in Groton. Slender tall windows, probably 1 to a cell? And of course, fence topped with concertina wire.
The lack of windows in the school building is probably for active shooter issues - a shooter can stay outside and snipe in a normal window, however I hate the lack of windows because if an active shooter is coming in my door, I would like the option to heave a desk out a window and follow it. Also, in case of fire, one can exit a broken out window if the hallway is fully involved.