The Ugliest Building in WRJ

Submitted 9 months ago
Created by
Anita Hamalainen

Can we talk about the elephant in the room?

Wait, that's unfair to elephants; they're actually quite cool. But let's talk about the ugliest building in downtown White River Junction. I admit, I am a self-avowed modernist, but this building on the corner of Gates Street and Currier gives modern architecture a very bad name. I think this is what a lot of people think about when they hear "modern architecture". They see this building and double-down on their belief that good architecture must look like it was teleported out of ancient Greece. And this building makes it hard to argue with them.

Does the dirty snowbank make the building look better or worse?

If you're unfamiliar with this building, this brick behemoth is here in downtown WRJ:

You might notice a few things: it's the biggest structure in the immediate downtown area, it occupies valuable real estate, and it's mysteriously unlabeled. (More on that later.) Here's another photo of it, at probably its most attractive angle.

Some leaves on those trees would really liven up the place.

Why is it the ugliest building in WRJ, in my opinion? It's boring, bland, and unimaginative. It also has very few windows, so I can only imagine the unrelenting fluorescent glow inside. In fact, this north-facing wall (below) has NO windows whatsoever.

The façade screams "Welcome!"

I can only imagine the experience of the individuals who work inside this window-deficient box. Which brings me to my next complaint: like Wonka's chocolate factory, nobody ever goes in, nobody ever comes out. It's the most inscrutable, non-existent building-- like a ghost squatting downtown, anonymously hogging valuable retail space.

The rusty No Parking sign adds a certain "I don't know what".

The main entrance to the entire building is in the above image in the lower left hand corner. For all its presence, it might as well be a mouse hole in the back. I can only imagine the sad architect given the task to "design the most non-descript, forgettable structure that no one will ever see or remember." Staring at this building is like being zapped by the neuralyzer from the movie, Men In Black.

Building? What building?

(photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures)

I realize that this was all probably intentional. This unassuming architectural specimen houses a telecommunication business and is meant to blend in with the woodwork for cyber-security and stuff.  Hence, it's unlabeled in Google Maps. The designer should have sheathed it in mirrors, though, so we could enjoy some reflected sky. Since I brought up teleporting earlier, could we move it up to Sykes Avenue and nestle it in between some of the car dealerships, opening up the downtown for more interesting development? No one would ever notice it on Sykes.

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My final complaint about the building before I close with a compliment (surprise!) is more generally about the business inside. We're subjected to this ugly land-hog and yet we don't benefit from affordable internet in this area. With the acquisition of Fairpoint by Consolidated Communications, perhaps they'll offer a competitive internet package. Or perhaps Comcast will still charge us an exorbitant amount for internet. I just need internet! Is there any cheaper alternative in the downtown WRJ area? Anyone? Please?!

Since I promised you a compliment, here it is... the building is made out of bricks, and as we all know from the Three Little Pigs, this is an excellent construction material. Much superior to its original design out of straw. Unfortunately, this brick building will never fall down.

The architect happily testing out the initial design.

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