Everything Is Ugly

The letter (Letters, 4/16)  from architect John Reynolds was interesting. Those who have been around here for a while might remember the corrugated steel “doghouse” that sat on top of a building downtown and caused such a furor. People wondered whatever happened to good, old-fashioned architecture. Have we fallen that far?

Just about everything today is ugly — homes, cars, buildings, ships, appliances. All of the charm and grace of everyday objects has disappeared in an effort to defray huge compliance costs, expensive labor, and to be more energy efficient, but at such a high price to the eye.

Reynolds mentioned his revulsion for Adolph Hitler’s embrace of classical styles. Hitler had a pathological hatred of France, most of which stemmed from France’s unrelenting pressure for reparations after the Great War and, along with Belgium, occupied the Ruhr Valley coalfields, which resulted in the loss of many German lives.

To make matters worse, the French were seen as the epitome of culture, refinement, style and design, much as they still are today, and one of Hitler’s goals was to outdo France and make Germany an equal in the world’s eyes. To do so, he embarked on a grand scale of elegant buildings and plazas, the ultra-modern autobahn, huge and fantastic railroads, and just about anything that would show up the French. Not much got done, though — a few buildings and the autobahn.      

Greg Williams


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