February 25th, 2011 | by BEN WATERHOUSE Arts & Books |

Eyesore of the Week: Belmont and 39th Condos

Because curmudgeonry is fun!

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Portland has no shortage of beautiful buildings. From the stately arches of Central Library to the pleasingly asymmetrical windows of the 937 Condominiums, the city has been blessed with its share of good architecture. But who wants to write about things they like? That's for nerds like Bart King and Brian Libby. Nah, we're an alt-weekly here, and that means we love nothing more than to bitch about other people's work.

So what's the ugliest building in Portland? Well, that's the kind of question that can only be answered with a series of link-baiting blog posts. Let's start with the B39 Condos.

Everyone who's lived in the Belmont area in the last four years knows this two-story atrocity, a jumbled mess of a renovation that's been empty since the building was remodeled in 2007. The rendering of the building on the developer's web site shows a pretty tasteful contemporary mixed-use design, apparently inspired by Holst Architecture's Sunrose condominiums. But the rendering was never built. What was? This:


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Everything about the building is awful, from the paint color ("Dead Lawn") to the ostentatiously design-y entrance, which only serves to draw attention to the horrible siding. Between the McMansion-quality stone and the horrible wood paneling, B39 looks like it was built from the leftovers of a low-budget ski chalet project. It takes a special talent to out ugly the Arco and Walgreen's that share the intersection, but there's no question that this deformed hulk pulls it off. It's no wonder that the retail spaces have sat empty while the rest of the neighborhood has blossomed; if the busy intersection doesn't scare your customers away, the orange paneling definitely will. The building is apparently for sale for over twice its 2007 sale price, if you happen to be interested in undertaking an epic DIY project.

So that is my eyesore of the moment. What's yours? Leave a comment or e-mail me and I'll check it out for next week's edition of Eyesore of the Week.

 
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