James Kunstler rants good

I just discovered Kunstler's "Eyesore of the Month" page, where he ridicules architectural monstrosities. Here are some of my favorites. (Also, if you haven't read his anti-sprawl article Home from Nowhere, do so.)

August 1999: Here we see the nearly complete metamorphosis of the two-family house into an industrial loading dock. Well, children in America are getting pretty large these days. Must be all those Cheez Doodles and Little Debbie Snack Cakes. I suppose soon they'll have to be forklifted into the dwelling by Soccer Mom. (She then becomes Forklift Mom).

June 2002: The sad little bench is deployed on West Avenue in Saratoga Springs, affording excellent views of four travel lanes plus one stacking left-turn lane and finally the Medical Arts building surrounded by its parking outparcels. The purpose of the bench is not rest for the weary traveler, for nobody ventures out here by foot. Nor is it a bus stop. It's there to provide the illusion that we are interested in a humane daily environment.

March 1998: Observe the lovely costuming of this building in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts. The argument has been made that Americans are not merely indifferent to the appearance of their towns, but are postively devoted to ugliness. This specimen has it all: the disruption of the original design, the revolting cladding material and color choice, the dedicated stretch of blank wall fronting the street, the utter lack of architectural dignity. This is a building perfectly suited to a culture of mental defectives. There is not enough Prozac in the world to cure this.

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20 Responses:

  1. primroseport says:

    That third one is hilarious

    • zonereyrie says:

      I live in Worcester, MA...

      There are a LOT of eyesores in Wormtown - yeah, Wormtown, that's the city's nickname. Seriously.

      At least most of the old, crumbling industrial buildings downtown have been knocked down in the past 10 years.

  2. artlung says:

    He rants better Phil Greenspun!

    James Kunstler is my new hero.

    Thanks for the pointer!

  3. mactavish says:

    That bottom one reminds me of Cal's Barrows Hall, the monstrous wall that divides UCB from Berkeley itself.

  4. pyrop says:

    I need to use the phrase "monkeyshit brown" more often in general conversation.

  5. ralesk says:

    You people should /totally/ come and take a look at Polish and Hungarian cities.

  6. watchingsitcoms says:

    this rant:
    gets the award for least-homophobic use of the word "faggotry."

    • gths says:

      And, oh! The building itself! It looks like the sort of thing I'd make with Lego(tm) when I was ten.

  7. ammonoid says:

    Man, he should check out Fremont. There never was a more crappy arrangment of suburbia. Housing developments and strip malls. It makes me ill. And you'd think that for all that, it'd be easy to get around, but no, I get lost constantly.

  8. deeptape says:

    Has anyone hacked a generalized script to watch pages for updates and stuff links to them in LJ upon such update?

  9. jtemperance says:

    The last one reminds me of what the bottom of the Flood Building in SF used to look like when Woolworth's was there.

  10. 33mhz says:

    As funny as these are, someone with a homepage that looks like this has no business making aesthetic judgements.

  11. ding_0_ says:

    Somehow the writing reminds me of Fat Chicks in Party Hats

  12. greyface says:

    Yet another thank you. Interesting article.

    I'm unshocked that you'd support somebody who wants to burn zoning laws. Then again, now I want to burn zoning laws...

  13. zonereyrie says:

    You know, I went through his entire history and was mildly disturbed by how many of them I recognized...

    I grew up in upstate NY, the Schenectady area. I've been in and through Saratoga Springs, Wilton, Albany, etc, countless times in the past 33 years. Then I moved to Worcester, MA for school (and since have moved back), so I recognized that one. And for a while I worked across the street from City Hall in Boston and I had to walk past it every day on my way to/from work - so I certainly recognized that facade.

  14. belgand says:

    Unfortunately the most recent one is a bit problematic as I rather like the idea of children being removed to a place where I will not be forced to hear and/or see them. Thankfully the children in my own complex (this being a college town this is one of the denser apartment complexes for children unfortunately, the price one must pay for being away from keg parties) are often reasonably well-behaved and out of sight.

    • jwz says:

      The problem is, that playground is so user-hostile that it won't end up getting visited at all. Meaning those damned kids will keep playing on your stoop.

      • belgand says:

        Personally I blame backwards parents who insist that children should be playing outdoors. I have no idea why people continue to believe in this odd myth that children must be outside or that they really, really like to be. Most adults don't like being outdoors, why are kids expected to be different? Keep the kids inside, maybe they'll learn something.

        • billemon says:

          Speaking as a parent of three children ... hahahahaha.

          You try keeping children indoors, and they'll kill you. Admittedly you can't *make* them go outside unless they want to but for six months of the year it's almost impossible to stop them.