So the sadly ugly Plaza Square Apartments are now considered ‘historic’ (note: I believe some Mid-Century Modern buildings are worth of historic designation). Designed by the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassebaum, the six towers, plopped down in the middle of the city in 1961, represent the height of Modernism’s arrogance: just clear away the poor people’s houses and everything will be great.
Perhaps out of guilt, or tacit admission of the superiority of the older buildings torn down for the slabs of mud colored brick towers, two churches were left in the midst of the development. My own experience living in 1950’s and 60’s apartment buildings is that they are cheaply built, increasingly outdated without expensive repairs, and beginning to show their design weaknesses–in other words, the same criticisms Modernists leveled against the buildings of the Victorian Era that were demolished for their new creations. Plaza Square is usually in the news because one of the buildings has fallen into such disrepair that the building inspector has shuttered a building, or the elevators have failed, requiring condemnation. And finally, to spurn the urban street grid, the building are turned perpendicular to the streets running by the complex. Plaza Square represents the ‘tower in the park’ at its worst.
Update: The parking garage was in fact built.
New plans include the construction of a parking garage; while originally marketed towards the middle-class, parking bizarrely was forgotten in the original design.