Baltimore Architecture Critic Royally Disses Downtown 7-Eleven

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7-eleven-sign

Every now and then, a terrible restaurant or a bad movie inspires a critic to reach new heights, penning a tear-down that’s positively dripping with vitriol. Believe it or not, Klaus Philipsen, the Baltimore Business Journal’s architecture critic, has found something in Baltimore to get all worked up about: the new downtown 7-Eleven.

Here’s a sampling:

Like tourists wearing sombreros in Mexico or lederhosen in Bavaria, retail buildings often masquerade in garb inspired by local cliches — mission-style, colonial or anything in between. What constitutes a mere laughable nuisance in suburban shopping centers, however, becomes architectural assault in an urban historic district.

Yike! But there’s more:

[T]he strip footing and tiny trenches for wastewater lines foreshadowed hastily erected spindly steel columns, confirming that whatever was being built here couldn’t be of any substance…. The overall appearance was that of a 5-year-old having decorated a sideways milk carton to look like a house.

And then he gets into a slightly disturbing metaphor:

Both horizontal (modern) and vertical (historic) orientations were on display in the surrounding Seton Hill neighborhood. This bastard was of neither parent….Instead, what rose here was a single-story convenience store that had been artificially inseminated with colonial seeds in order to grow to the heights of nearby rowhouses: seeds that were duds, with blind windows and without the fruit of access, an unsuccessful attempt at being contextual.

There’s more–the lederhosen even make a reappearance!– so please go read the full take-down. The only downside is that Philipsen’s outrage is so righteous and extreme that it makes me kind of interested in checking out this architectural assault of a building. Have you been to the convenience store at the corner of North Paca and West Franklin? Was it an abominable experience?



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4 COMMENTS

  1. It’s HIDEOUS! Klaus was being kind. Are there no guidelines as to what can be built in a historic district?

  2. Dang it — when I read the title to your piece, I thought that it was a literal take-down of a downtown monstrosity — and I got my hopes up that you were talking about the eyesore…oops, I mean sculpture…of the man/woman at Penn Station. Oh, well…

  3. Not Just North Paca and West Franklin, but Lexington and Liberty and Saratoga and Howard Streets. Awful outside and awful inside. The worst retail layout and stock. A bad ‘convenience’ for Baltimore.

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