The baddest of the bad?

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Colorado Square
You, too can be an architect! Just copy an egg carton.

We can all name our favorites structures — buildings which, like the Cadet Chapel at the Air Force Academy, or the Fine Arts Center or the stately homes along Wood Avenue, lift our spirits and gladden our hearts.
But what about their opposite numbers?


City Administration Building – Belongs in a Dallas exurban office park.

CC Print Shop – Colorado Springs Jackalope – There’s a beautiful Victorian house hiding behind the concrete block addition.

Cingular store on Tejon – The bright, ugly, screaming orange is so awful that you don’t see the building anymore.

North El Paso Street – Architectural overbite

East Espanola Street – The “Oz House,” as in “Call Dorothy and tell her we located her trailer”

First Presbyterian Church Complex – There’s some noble ecclesiastic architecture somewhere in this mess.

The Gray Rose (good but gone) – Nightclubbers don’t appreciate elegance.

Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex – As bad as it is, I’m surprised it’s not worse. Stalinist Revival somewhat redeemed by naming one of the culprits on the building.

Il Vicino – Hurts my eyes every time I look at it!

Rock Island Substation – Does it have to be right in the middle of Academy?

What about buildings that are as cold and forbidding as a Chicago winter, as grating as a bad karaoke singer or as irritating as a boom car blaring hip-hop at 7 a.m.?
CSBJ e-mailed several dozen community members, including builders, developers, politicians, architects, planners and community activists, and asked for suggestions. Hoping for frank, pithy replies, we promised anonymity.
We got an earful. Here, in all their dubious glory, are the “winners” — buildings which, according to our utterly unscientific poll, are among the worst in the Pikes Peak region.
If there’s a grand prize winner, it has to be the new courthouse, otherwise known as the Terry R. Harris Judicial Building, which received multiple nominations. Here’s a particularly acerbic comment from a local architect.
“… Easily the ugliest building in Colorado Springs. Not only is it ugly externally, its internal design is repugnant and the materials are of inferior quality. … When one compares this building to the old El Paso County Courthouse across the street, it is easy to see the decline in the respect our judicial system has earned for itself. Interestingly the architect of the old building was self-taught and this was the only building of any significance he designed. It is a wonderful collage of classical elements. By contrast, DLR, the THJB architect, has many highly educated and licensed architects on staff. Maybe this also reflects the decline in our architectural education system …”
Other comments were just as uncharitable. “… Somewhat redeemed by naming one of the culprits on the building.” Ouch!
Another favorite: the Colorado Square Building, at the northwest corner of Nevada and Pikes Peak avenues.
“They actually paid someone to design this. Any box of cereal is more visually interesting, more sophisticated, more alive …”
“Imagine if there were a dozen buildings like it — it looks like a high-rise prison.”
“It’s too big and too expensive to tear down, and that’s too bad.”
Are these, in fact, the worst buildings in the city, or are our respondents way off base? We’d love to know your opinion. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and comments at editorial@csbj.com.