How to save ugly buildings

© National Trust for Historic Preservation

Victorian buildings used to be considered ugly and awful; thousands were torn down before tastes changed and people came to love and value them. Many1950s buildings are considered ugly and we are losing many of them now. Brutalist buildings are under threat everywhere right now; people find them particularly ugly.

When then National Trust for Historic Preservation titled this slideshow "How to save ugly buildings" I thought, who you calling ugly? Some of them are quite wonderful. One can also make the case that building huggers are really treehuggers; there is a lot of life left in these buildings and you don't throw something away that can still work for decades. But as Tom Mayes notes,

It's always easier to save a place that people consider beautiful than a place -- no matter how historically significant -- that people think is ugly.

The National Trust has prepared a slideshow that gives some good tips on how to save what they call ugly buildings, that make a lot of sense. It was surprising to see how many buildings were on TreeHugger already. Flashes from brutalist buildings past:

Landmarks, not Landfill: I.M. Pei Church in Washington Under Threat


This one's gone, even though it was called "one of the best examples of Brutalism in the Washington area," a prime example of "the use of exposed, unadorned, roughly cast concrete to construct buildings of 'stark forms and raw surfaces."

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Gensler Reimagines the FBI Building In Washington

fbiFBI Headquarters Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

Where is Ephrem Zimbalist Jr. when you need him? This one's under threat.

“The FBI building is exactly at the age where a lot of buildings tend to be lost because they are underappreciated,” said Tom Mayes, deputy general counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Paul Rudolph's Orange County Government Center saved

This one's saved. "The greenest concrete is the stuff that's already poured. It's a rare victory, one that doesn't bite the dust."

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How to save ugly buildings
The National Trust for Historic Preservation looks at the issue and shows some buildings that I don't think are ugly at all.

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