This may be the single worst style of architecture ever conceived by mankind.

Airport Plaza One, Crystal City, Arlington Virginia – 2021

1970s corporate modernism reduced architecture to the most simple forms imaginable, sucking away even the slightest semblance of life. People want to rip on Brutalism, but Brutalism has depth. It has shadow, articulation, discernible mass. Things move in and out; there’s room for playfulness.

But this? The wall has become this unimaginably flat surface. Like a desert. An arid wasteland of a façade, utterly bereft of joy. These kind of buildings become simply their own shape: a rectangle, an octagon, whatever. They become so slick that they forget that there’s any other purpose in life than to be slick.

Architects tried to sell those mirrored windows to the public as space-enhancing elements: they would reflect their surroundings and thus magnify the beauty of their setting. In truth, most people don’t even notice them; photographers like them because they give a ghastly reflection of the surrounding world — a grotesque distortion that looks artistic in a photo, but man, you wouldn’t want to live there.