Thursday, January 18, 2018



Kirkbride Asylum, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, built in the 1890s:

Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota, built in the 1990s:

I'm just a Philistine, but the contrast symbolizes for me the immense cultural decline that occurred over the space of just a century.

I used to walk by the Weisman Art Museum a few times a week when it was under construction — it reminded me of scrap metal shacks in third-world slums. I call it the ugliest building in Minnesota, but maybe it qualifies as the ugliest building in the United States, or even the whole world. Another Minneapolis eyesore, Riverside Plaza, built in the 1970s, would be a close runner-up for ugliest building, though:

I just read that the Kirkbride Asylum is slated for demolition. A pity. It may not be an architectural masterpiece, but whatever replaces it is bound to be far inferior, aesthetically and structurally.
damnosa quid non inminuit dies?
aetas parentum, peior avis, tulit
nos nequiores, mox daturos
progeniem vitiosiorem.
Another symptom of decline — we used to house and care for the mentally ill in buildings like the Kirkbride Asylum, but now we just dump them on the streets to fend for themselves.

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