In Defense of the Columbia Center

A Positive View of a Troubled Building


So, rather than formerly-erect buildings now flaccid from their last climax, they are human heads resting on bodies that are but the empty shells of their former selves. Not sure this is an improvement on the image.
Beautiful song, Charles!
Always appreciate the Columbia tower as the first to greet me upon my return to Seattle via Seatac. Let's you know you're home.

Then again, I've only lived in Seattle for about a decade, so I guess I would associate the building with "home," unlike Knute and the old guard.
I have always liked the Columbia Tower Building. I remember it being built. The building has an austere sculptural quality that is pleasing from almost every angle. Anyone who feels threatened by a buliding should have their head examined...Hearing voices lately?
I work there (I'm writing from inside it right now). I've always liked its ominous black silence.
"To love the Columbia Center, then, is to directly or indirectly associate yourself with this form of sexual power that is repressed in the boardrooms of Safeco and Bank of America but released into a skyline that's on the verge of a hundred ejaculations."
this is classic 'Charles M', just classic.

But for some of us SAF members/architecture fans, each building "is" something different. Rainier Square is a delimbed tree, already chipped apart by the local lumber trade. The space needle is a chesspiece giving a tip of the hat to the city's old nickname. The IBM bldg gives a certain ground-level nod to the roman/medici empires with its ground level arches. The Smith tower was (appropriately for a gun mogul), in profile, roughly the shape of a gun -with trigger no less- sans grip, pointed at the sky as a big "reach for the sky, partner" to god. The federal building is a beehive full of busy bees. The only tower that screams "I'm a penis! Look at my phallic phallacy!" to me is the damned key tower/Municipal Tower. That one's plainly obvious, with vein-ish rounded supports specifically running up & down the length on the OUTside of the building, no less.

That said, for their architects, yes, they may have been libido-inspired quasi-phallic temples or "extensions of themselves", and there's a certain transparent egotism in old Stein-brew's comments about the Columbia Tower (his ivorywhite 600' tower, (which usurped a previous ivory tower (Smith)) was being usurped as the most noticeable feature of the skyline by a large thick black erection - clearly Vicki was feeling competitive/old compared to Chester Lindsay, and was probably still smarting over an earlier rival's arrival, the Seafirst Bldg (aka the Box the Space Needle came in) which trumped his height by a few measly feet. )
I don't believe for a second that the X-spurts didn't know that the economy was about to pop like a festering zit onto the bathroom mirror.

American business is geared to run off of cliffs and dawn golden parachutes for the inside few.

Not in many decades of listening have I ever heard of anything as "boring" as solid investing and economic structuring as it smells of socialism to democrats and communism to republicans.

And though I indeed love the Darth Vader tower with heart the real story is still the idiots who are losing everything and have no way to cope or understand it and decide to end lives over it.

Its a free market? free to fly off into outer space and plummet into the ground and splat like bird sheet.

you have to use your brain and use your own eyes and do the foot work and go the entire 99 yards to reach a successful investment and in America even the Greek Gods are welcomed to stop you.
Except... if the "majesty of elevation" is the point, burying the Space Needle as a counterpoint to the rest of the skyline makes the C'Tower a wreckless argument. The beauty of the Space Needle WAS to provide that visual anchorpoint, a signature to the skyline without having to satisfy "return in investment" of square footage but to give the city a skyline. Paul Allen and Vulcan missed a fantastic opportunity by constructing the menagerie of crap that they did. Now Seattle has another strip-mall skyline.
"it happened to be the time of her period and she refused to do anything with blood"

"The architecture of tall buildings consistently all comes down to a direct translation of the exceptionally large human intromittent organ. The penis. The cock in an erect state, ready to fuck, to be grasped, sucked, and satisfied. What is the Columbia Center for Berger and his spiritual father, Steinbrueck, and the members and descendents of CAP? The triumph of the penis."

You are the most moronic fucking writer in the history of The Stranger. Probably even Seattle. Maybe even the world.

The only people more idiotic than you are the people who employ you or approvingly follow your writing.

The only thing that impresses me about you is the fact that you've managed to make money off of your useless, inane, narcissistic drivel.
Charles, I can defend the Columbia Tower simply by pointing out that someone decided to build it. If there is any social frustration with the tower, it is a mere misdirection from the inane politics that run our economy.

America's hatred of money reminds me of a man who expresses violence towards his wife's lover. He needs only to recognize that his wife/government is an insatiable slut and will sleep with anybody who gives her a little attention.

But this is why I am a capitalist and you are a Marxist.
#10: No, YOU are the stentorian purveyor of insolent drivel! See how easy that is? Just because you're using five-dollar words to call someone stupid doesn't make your comment any less petty or pointless. You have nothing meaningful to say, so you hurl insults. No one is impressed.
#12 No, YOU are the stentorian purveyor of insolent drivel! See how easy that is? Just because you're using five-dollar words to call someone stupid doesn't make your comment any less petty or pointless. You have nothing meaningful to say, so you hurl insults. No one is impressed.
#12 I only considered them 5 cent words. So, thanks for the compliment.

Also, I appreciate the effort you put forward by busting out your dictionary and thesaurus to come up with an insult for my insult. You're so well read. Or at least you're good at trying to portray yourself as such. Glad you care so much about my meaningless comments.
I'm with joemomma on this - what started as a perfectly good, introspective piece about the Columbia Tower, and the various views on Seattle architecture in general, as well as some sweet anecdotes about how various locals feel about the building...

... turned into an idiotic rant of Freudian proportions full of pop psych bull and needless and seemingly unprovoked over-sexualization of *frigging buildings*.

I get it, we're sexual beings - but if you're seeing cocks everywhere you look, and you think architecture is all about cock-ifying everything... you have issues.
Post haste, you need to get to Slog and put up a picture of a woman's breasts with a quote from Fichte in order to compensate for all this gay cock talk.
Like others, first the old, square Sea-First Bank tower in the '60's (now dwarfed) and then the Columbia Center Towers are the symbol of Seattle to me when I arrive from the east, south, north or by ferry. I've lived here all my life and never knew there was controversy over their construction, but have always enjoyed our sky-scrapers. Folks who want Seattle to look like Anchorage should move there.
Thanks, Charles.
14-unfortunately, I think 'inane' should be downgraded a few cents because you've merely used a word that's become popularized in internet vernacular; Also, it's hard to tell what your point was in your original comment. Charles M is not the originator the "tall-erect structure-as-penis" concept. Were you criticizing that with the pull-quote? Ever hear of an obelisk?

11-your Randian metaphor (wife/slut something), sans rape fantasy, makes absolutely no sense. Also, I've never in my life experienced that Americans hate money! Please enlighten me on this wonderful generalization.
You must be the city's most odd writer -- not good or insightful or readable, just odd.

For those who see this comment, suppressed by the Stranger's new anti anonymous comments, consider this line:

"This is the theme of criticism waged at tall buildings: It equates the towers of corporate power with power of the male libido."

When I read something like this, I guess it's not intended as parody but I does recall Sterling Hayden explaining himself to Peter Sellers in "Dr Strangelove."

For readers who need further understanding of the value of Charles' thoughts on architecture, the guy loves concrete. The downtown Sheraton? Yumm.

Keep paying this guy. Otherwise, he's flipping burgers at Dick's. Come to think of it, Charles, that's a location where your Freudian thinking has a match.

Fries with that?

I have to say this is the most entertaining conversation I have ever read ever since loan modification first came into the public. So please, do continue. I'll grab the popcorn.