Knox Heritage released its annual “Fragile 15” last week, an important list of the county’s most-threatened structures and places of historic and cultural significance. Check it out here.
Now it’s time to consider buildings that are unworthy of preservation or are simply ghastly architectural mistakes.
The list was compiled after an exhaustive and wholly unscientific poll of coworkers. It is based solely on personal taste or lack thereof.
In no particular order, the first annual Who Needs ‘Em list is:
— University of Tennessee Conference Center on Henley Street. In a word: Ugly. Seldom would a gravel parking lot improve the cityscape.
— Former Baptist Hospital, now known as Mercy Riverside. Implosion is the word that comes to mind. Redevelopment of the waterfront is a worthy goal, but it won’t happen until the dust settles and the rubble is cleared.
— South Knoxville Water Tower. Someone thought this 180-foot tower off Cherokee Trail was a good idea. They were wrong.
–Former KUB building, corner of Gay Street and Church Avenue. The green-tile building is a LEED disaster. Its unfortunate exterior is proof that Kodachrome architecture went out with the ’60s along with avocado kitchens, bell-bottoms and drug-induced mind expansion. Timothy Leary may have been on this building’s design team.
— Thompson Boling Arena. This big, slab-sided thing looks like the box a really nice building might have been delivered in.
— City County Building. It’s what happens when Stalinism meets democracy.
— TVA Towers. Twin Bleaks.
— Smoky Mountain Market, No. 1, on Chapman Highway. Why is it sitting there? It’s midnight and I can still hear somebody yelling, “Rooster with cheese”
Before you send indignant e-mails complaining about the lack of appreciation for history or archictectural diversity, consider the good that demolition can bring to the city landscape.
Remember the Inter Agency Insurance building at the corner of Kingston Pike and Concord? Knoxville businessman Sam Furrow had the good sense to tear it down and replace it with beautiful green lawn.