Behold the new Health Center on Russell Street in Missoula, Montana — a demonstration that Murphy’s Law rules absolutely in American architecture and town planning. This is the back of the building; the front is oriented to the interior of the block where the parking is (don’t expect Happy Motoring to continue ten years from now). It’s a little hard to see here, but all the HVAC blowers face the narrow sidewalk where hypothetical pedestrians will get hot blasts of locker room exhaust as they journey down the street. The chief tenet of modernism still prevails: justify cheap shortcuts, bad proportioning, absence of ornament, and shoddy construction with ideological minimalism. Note the attempt to make the giant box appear to be be composed of separate smaller buildings. Note the crappy horizontal windows. Note the weak gestural brackets along the cornice. This culture is incapable of doing better work. We became a third-rate nation before we became Third World.
Thanks to John Wolverton for the submission.
Some of his comments: “The original exhaust nozzles looked like jet engines; but we complained (about the whole ugly thing) and they hopped into action by replacing the nozzles with some-type louvered vent… likely to more efficiently direct the blast at the pedestrians. Oh, and they’ll be planting some nice shrubs around the electric box and gas meter.”
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The 20th Anniversary edition
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