Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Mexico: Architecture 4: The Appalling

What is it they say? I don't know much about art, but .... I know what I [don't] like.

I've noticed that communities in New Mexico have been enamored with these stone buttresses that jut out from the core. I've seen a number of public schools with this bit. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But even when it works, it's like the PT Cruiser - the first three times I saw one, I thought, oh, cute! but then I was done with them.

In Cloudcroft, it kind of works. To be fair, the building looks prettier in person than in the photo below. 

The high school in Bloomfield, New Mexico. My God, when I first drove past the building, I didn't know if it was a fancy factory? Office building? Oh, what'd you say - a high school? Strangely, I can find very few photos of the school.  Unlike the Cloudcroft situation, the photo below makes the school look better than it does in person. 

Bloomfield High School. Credit: Greer-Stafford

And then there's the Public Safety Complex in Artesia. Again, difficult to find photos, partly because the complex is so large. If you were to take parts of the complex, it would be fine, but the overall project is a manic jumble of different styles and media.

Artesia Public Safety Complex. Credit: whjarch

But even though I find the busyness and clunkiness of the above designs not to my taste, none hold a candle to my yardstick of horrible design, that which is a white box for warehousing humans, found in my own hometown of Jefferson City, Missouri:

Howerton Building, Jefferson City, Missouri

No, it is not a prison per se. It is a place of employment for people responsible for improving the quality of lives of others. You can imagine how this environment supports them in this task.

So now with that perspective, I can embrace the jumble of the above New Mexico designs with a little more warmth.

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