Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- April 26

Sporting Club at the Bellevue

244 S. Broad St.

Giant Statue of an 80's Movie Robot of the Week
              I hate buildings that prove NIMBYs right. In the early 1980's South Broad Street looked like shit... sort of the way North Broad looks now. The beautiful buildings constructed in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were caked in layers of coal and car pollution. The old Ritz Hotel (a future Old Ass Building of the Week) was missing it's skydeck and had a 1940's facade of lines covering it's formerly beautiful bottom quarter. The Bellevue-Stratford had pieces falling off of it and was about to fall over... it was tired from just giving birth to Legionnaire's Disease. The sidewalks and streets were cracked up as shit. Ever notice that it's hard to find a picture of Broad Street in the late 70's early 80's?
             Some big-balled motherfuckers named Richard I Rubin & Co. came along and decided to improve the 200 block of South Broad Street. They restored the Bellevue-Stratford and needed to add amenities to it. They looked to the left of the old hotel castle and saw a lot that had been the Empty Lot of the Week for more than five years. Oh yeah, and that lot once held this:
The Philadelphia Art Club
             Then they said, "Wow! An Empty Lot on South Broad Street! Think of the possibilities...", then just said "Fuck it, lets build a parking garage." Build one they did. In 1983 they built a parking garage to match it's uglier big brother across the street (I'll get to that one another time). A few years later, The Sporting Club at the Bellevue was built on top of that garage, designed by Michael Graves.
              Look at that pile of donkeyshit. It's like someone took a parking garage and a Lego set and just went bananas. You almost want to thank the facade for teaching you about geometric shapes. Circles and Squares and Rectangles and Triangles. It was like Michael Graves gave the blueprint to his 4-year-old and said "Hey, finish this bullshit for me... I need a facade for this thing. Use some of the shapes you learned last week at nursery school you dirty bastard!"  
             A book called Philadelphia Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places By Karen Ivory calls this giant statue of an 80's movie robot "most noted for its design". She should have said "It sees through the three circles and talks through the giant triangle!" What a pile of crud.

"Hello, my name is D.A.R.Y.L. or J.O.H.N.S.O.N or F.U.C.K. or some other 80's movie robot name. "

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