A few years ago, the Observer began a series calling out what we thought were some of the area's ugliest buildings. The AT&T office building at Bryan Street and Haskell Avenue, the Dallas World Trade Center, the Turley Law Center on Central Expressway, Irving's convention center, Dallas City Hall. (That last one might come down more to personality than looks. As they say, beauty is skin deep; it's what's inside that matters.) Sadly, the writer who handled the series moved on, but the fugly endures, so we're back at it, saying mean things about some of DFW's architectural eyesores. First up this round is one butt-ugly apartment building that, to be honest, is not much worse than a lot of the new residences sprouting up around Uptown and Oak Lawn, except for one soon-to-be changed feature. Got your own nominees for fugliest? Drop us a line in the comments.
There you are, in your sporty sports car, driving around Uptown on a gorgeous fall day. You're cruising down Lemmon Avenue, like you do, looking for somewhere to eat. Wendy's! Starbucks! KFC! So many fine options. You pass a car dealership with an American flag in its parking lot that's so big it could make a tent to house a family of five. You smile because you love America. And that's when it hits you. Like a bulldozer. Like a bulldozer that's been left wet in the sun too long. To your right is an apartment building so ugly and so hurtful to your eyes, you're forced to pull over and investigate.
Avana West Lemmon shouldn't be ugly. It's near pretty, pretty Uptown, after all, and Uptown and its beautiful people deserve nice things. But that rusty red is the color of Grandma's shag rug in her old house that hasn't been redecorated since the '70s. It looks like the painters just went to Home Depot one day said, "Give us 500 gallons of whatever you're trying to get rid of cheap."
Whatever happened to beige? Cocoa? Taupe? Brooooooown. These are the proper colors of Dallas' newest low-rise apartments, not rabbit-ass red.
As I was leaving the perimeters of the apartment building, I stopped to talk to one of the painters. I asked what they were doing to the godforsaken building. Painting over the red?! Yes, he and a nice lady at the front office confirmed they were painting over the red.
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Well that's a start, anyway, but the industrial looking metal railings on the postage-stamp-size balconies and the exposed guttering in contrasting colors remain. So do the Subway, a fitness center and an emergency room on the ground floor, because nothing says home more than living above a fast-food joint next to a place where people pick up prescriptions for mysterious rashes, minor injuries and other homey delights.
As we pointed out in July, the trend of tedious human warehouses sprouting above retail strip centers is afflicting Uptown and other cities thanks partly to changes in building codes that encourage the spread of a "new urbanism" style that looks oddly like the heyday of the old Soviet Union.