Tag Archives: architecture

The Architectural Blues

Today’s post comes from Clyde of Mankato

I was driving down the street the other day, minding my own business entirely, innocent of marring the world with anything but my car exhaust fumes, when I looked up and saw two men putting a new sign on a building.

Birkholz Building

Back when I was the manager of a small company, I almost rented half of this building. The Birkholz this is now named for, if I correctly assume who it is, is no relative. (Well, I know he/she isn’t because I have no relatives named Birkholz, except my son and my ex-brother.) The probable building owner’s wife is my eye doctor. If it is he, the building will soon start tilting radically to the right.

I bemoan that my name is on such a squat dumpy pasty-white building. However, Mankato has has a spate of new construction in the last few years, which makes the Birkholz Building look blandly attractive. Let me take you on a short tongue-in-cheek tour. Along the way, I am sure many if not all of you will disagree with my assessments. My architectural taste has long been held up to ridicule.

US Banbk

I think all will agree about this new atrocity. But I give credit to a bank for giving the world a bold middle finger architectural salute, as they so often do financially.


This was completed five years ago at a local Lutheran college. This building is most certainly awkward. It makes me want to turn Catholic. It was Mankato’s first major step into what I call “sore thumb architecture.” We now have literally hundreds of sore thumbs sticking skyward around town, the finest exemplar of which is this thing near Minnesota State.

Sore Thumb

The next three buildings are all just being completed.


These three buildings are all on the same block, turning their backs to each other, as they should. One looks like a crossword puzzle, one looks like a Legos construction, one looks like a glass outhouse. Diagonally across an intersection from the glass outhouse is this building, which, if you took off that golfer’s cap and replaced it with a cross, would look as if they worship money.


Then there is the church we attend. Notice I do not indicate any sense of involvement.


This building used to look like a bottling plant, beer bottling no doubt. Two years ago they spent over $2,000,000, much of went to redo the front, adding the freight loading dock to the left of our view, the rusting crosses, the sore thumb to our right (had to be one of those), and the new windows and columns. This improved, they say, the narthex inside. I guess, but, my, oh, my, how sound does bounce off all that brick and glass. I think I better be quiet now.

How are you doing with post-modernism?