I Hate the Beacon Hill Library, and You Should Too

A Journey to Seattle’s Heart of Darkness


I wish I could say I stopped reading here:
But what we ended up with was nothing about the community and everything about that white man jiving in that exotic hat.
But unfortunately I read the whole pathetic whiny thing.

What I take away whenever I visit this library is that it's a beautiful building with some really interesting spaces.

But then, I'm not looking to inject "political correctness" and self-hate into everything.
What the hell was that piece of shit?
Seriously, you're still going on about this? Give it up bro. It's a fucking building and not that terrible really.
I'm not even gay but I would LOVE it if the Cap Hill public library "lots of waterfalls, Doric columns, and unicorn sculptures." Bring it.
The first thing I thought when I walked into the Beacon Hill Branch: "Why, I'm in the hull of a slave ship."

What a sad man.
"But instead of whips, there are books; instead of chains, there are computers; instead of pirates, there are librarians. This is a postmodern heart of darkness for sure."

I do not follow this last bit at all. What is all "heart of darkness" about books, computers, and librarians?

Also, if there is any institution that exists to be a neutral social space, it's the library.
yikes, I figured that because this article was on the top main page of the Stranger site, it must have some teeth to it.

nope. just rubbery old man gums.
Wow, let's rant about a building 10 years late... slow news week much?
I don't suppose you might have found one single nice thing to say about the building should it have been built by, say, anyone else?
...and a slave ship this far up north? are you really dumb enough to think that any large wooden ship in the world is related to slavery? If anything my first guess would have been about Russian and Mexican traders who owned this coast after the Native American and before US Americans, but that's just me, guess I studied a little bit of PNW history and not enough about the Slave trade that so obviously happened this far north...
Fuck. I'm so sick of reading this bullshit. Will someone from The Stranger please send Charles on his way and replace him with a real journalist.

This article was so fucking stupid, second only to the cloud article from last year.
Bonkers. I love you, but this is bonkers. I hope it's as far as you plan to take this.
I love the thing. I will just always think it should be in Ballard. Vikings did that ship roof for reals.
Like the guys entering the bar, clearly the author had one too many to drink while writing this piece of wasted words.
I enjoyed this article and I am enjoying all of the disgust thrown at it in the comments. Double win!
WTF? What a piece of crap article. I've lived on BEHI for over 16 years and love this building. Our library is the coolest place to hang out on our hill. Get a clue, Mr. Mudede.


The Beacon Hill Library is a Rorschach ink blot test.

Thanks for playing.
I don't know what you guys did to Charles Mudede, but this year he's like 10 times more entertaining than usual.
Reading this "article" I can speak for the vast majority of Seattleites that the Beacon Hill Library must now be the template of which ALL future construction in Seattle..no Washington State, must emulate.

Clearly it is a work of art that rivals anything the Greeks ever built!
If there's one thing I hate about Seattle culture, it's the architecture of the '90s and beyond. Quirky is the essence of Holly Golightly, the worst thing to happen to American literature.

The Beacon Hill Library (and, while we're talking about Cap Hill libraries, that one, too) is a hideous space that pretends to be About Something. No. It's just ugly.
Oh, and Frank Gehry. That guy. Ugh.
I was going to offer some nuanced commentary on this article, but on second thought, no. I'll just stick to this:

I agree on all points. Nice work.
No. It's just ugly.
Interested in your view of "not ugly"... A brick shit-house? "Post-Modern" in the Communist style? The EMP?

It's a fucking library with a cool wood-framed roof structure.

Now go back to your offic at Microsoft Red West.
@21 - The EMP is the worst of all.
My son always loved this library, and so did I.

Charles is projecting his own feelings onto it.

I guess Chris Rock was right, books are like kryptonite to "black people" (well, that's not the words he used, but you know what he used….).

By the way chuckles, the only time I've seen immigrants being hassled in Seattle it was blacks teens making Asian eyes and calling an old Korean shop keeper a chink at a store in the rainier Valley. Ask any immigrant in Seattle who they fear more, whites or blacks.

I think Camille Paglia was right in her assessment of Marxism as useless in the context of criticism of any creative endeavor.

I dislike the building too, but this article said nothing of substance about space or functionality, and the issues of form were being parsed at about an 8th grade level.

Art crit, of which architectural crit is an offshoot, is a pretty (self) serious discipline. Maybe dabblers are not the best bet, as I'm sure there are dozens of qualified writers in the field who would be happy to contribute for little to no pay, and produce a superior and more readable piece.
Oh, and Frank Gehry. That guy. Ugh.
Ah. A 20-something rube. Glued to your "smartphone" and perhaps your game box, you have bypassed any cultural exposure.

Skinny pants and boxers, right?
Thank you. I'm very glad you got around to actually writing the critique. This is a good angle. I'd like to see you develop it more relating to other buildings. I would also like to hear what you think successful examples might be.
I thought this article was great and very thoughtful. Even if you don't agree with it. I would love to keep reading pieces like this in the Stranger. Thanks, Charles.
@26 - Oh man, you sure got me pegged alright. You're a genius. The police should hire you for their profiling/psychic programs.
I appreciated this article. Don't know about the library as I haven't visited it, but the take on quirkiness, the market, and design made me think. People complaining seem to only want to read articles that say what they already think they know.
I would also like to hear what you think successful examples might be.
Given the theme of Mudede's little story, probably a building built to resemble a slave ship where there are bigger-than-life bronze sculptures all around of white Europeans whipping black slaves, and to check out a book, you have to "assume the position" with your hands tied to a post while a librarian gives you 20 lashes with a leather whip.
Shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up
Jesus Christ Charles! Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. It's a nice building trying to have a little fun, not a rerun of Roots.
Come to think of it, the building even looks like it's trying awkwardly to fit into an inappropriate hat.

There's the slightly tilted, slightly sideways brim in the front. And that pointy fishing-tackle thing sticking up from it is the Sunday-hat flair.
The only way to keep the Beacon Hill library from ever happening again is to stop "community design reviews"

Not that I hate the library by any means. I actually like it quite a bit - especially compared to what Beacon Hill had before - but the amount the city spends on community meetings is ridiculous, in that it only reflects the values of that peculiar subset of people who choose to attend those sorts of meetings. And as we all know, whoever talks the loudest, and for the longest amount of time, gets their way at those meetings.

And I do wonder about the wisdom of building a collection of quirky, eccentric buildings for a system that has perpetual budget woes. For instance, we were told that the old Central Library was "too far gone" because of deferred maintenance and changed building codes, yet it was only about forty years old. How will these buildings stand that test of time?

The genius of Mudede is that he has been able to take a tired Stranger meme, and in combining it with this rag's readers' perpetual petulance, he was able to present some very complex social criticism. This is a clever way to present things that can only enter the consciousness through an emotional channel where the routine equilibrium is altered, and where otherwise conventional constructs rule the day (e.g. OMG not this again, or OMG what *is* his problem anyway?) The form is fucking brilliant.

The unfortunate down side is that Mudede's content is completely full of cliches based on social theories that cannot be proven in the most rudimentary rational or logical framework, whose applications have been completely disastrous from a historical perspective, and which have been rejected by the vast majority of people who are claimed to be the heirs and beneficiaries of such ideology by those promulgating such faith-based materialist garbage. He hides these in a web of self evident proclamations that, God forbid, people ought to be treated like human beings, which is not a particularly radical concept.

None the less, the reader is tricked into accepting the underlying ideological hogwash if he/she sympathizes with basic humanistic values; that is, a reader who wants to be seduced by the more-radical-than-thou box 'o chocolates.
Zifferelli is the very essence of the easily-awed, complacently middlebrow, self-satisfied Seattle stooge that makes me hate this city sometimes.

Let me guess, I bet you find SIFF "culturally important" and the discourse on KUOW "scintillating", don't you?
All these years and I still can't believe the Stranger pays to keep a troll on staff. Jesus, Tim - you realize people will troll for free, right?
The fact that the Stranger has such a pitifully small staff to adequately cover this great city -- and wastes one of those positions on one who produces this kind of self-absorbed, masturbatory ramblings -- is a crime.
I wouldn't hate this if I hadn't been subject to a barrage of contentless Slog posts about the awfulness of the library.
Did you try to talk to Don Carlson? Doesn't seem like it.
@26- I think Architecture, as a form that requires so much 'overhead' in terms of capitol, aesthetic momentum, design reviews, etc, is really the trailing edge of art. Gehry is functionally an Abstract Expressionist, which hasn't been a vital form for about 50 years.
I agree with the article.
Geeze. My kids love it. It works well enough for me. And it beats the hell out of the storefront library that Beacon Hill got stuck with for decades. THAT library was not politically neutral and it was a horrible piece of shit.
I love this. So much. I understand the hate, because it is hard to look at something as seemingly benign as a beautiful library building and instead view it as an ugly representation of what is wrong with our world. But, just because that is difficult, does not mean that the author is "wrong." While the article stretches beyond what most people will associate a ship-like building with, the author is certainly correct about the pervasive ideas of us failing capitalism, instead of the reality of capitalism failing us. Bravo.
Is balancing a spoon on my nose the same as Rumsfeld balancing a chopstick on his lip?

That is all I care to know after reading this piece.
What a stupid article!
I agree with Charles.

The Beacon Hill library makes me feel like I am the victim of a fictional racial incident involving a hat and buckets of beer. I also make connections between the library and Marxism and stuff.

I have to look at the library every day because I work on Capitol Hill and live on south Beacon Hill, just past the golf area.
@37 - Hit a sore spot did I? You look like an idiot in your skinny jeans with your trendy boxers showing. Grow up.
Let me guess, I bet you find SIFF "culturally important" and the discourse on KUOW "scintillating", don't you?
I listen to KOMO mostly, I can’t stand 60’s beat jazz, so get off my fucking lawn.

Interestingly, you will probably die of stupidity long before I die of old age.

But I do like interesting architecture, and despise "political correctness" like Mudede's vomit.
i'ts just more random crap from some architect who ignores beauty, and who thinks any random set of angular forms is great, woo hoo. Completely abandoning proportion and human ness of pattern language. the homage to the fish cannery shed.

and grey walls, blank walls facing the street? woo hoo, is this to be reminiscent of a prison yard, or perhaps the form known as "a garage"? we get enough grey in seattle. and random swooping metal and glass? what is this, a building designed by a computer builder, and no I don't mean at apple, I mean like a 1985 mechanical engineer who thinks a computer should look "cool" in nerdland? wtf?

all over seattle we see this total crap being built. we should put up a website called Ugly Crap in Seattle and post pictures because apparently people are shamelss in their lack of taste and in desiring to prove their authenticity by abjuring beauty -- their faux authenticity.

buildings should look like...buildings. proportion. symmetry. a clear entrance. it's not rocket science. but no, no architect can build anything that looks like a classic form today, they don't even teach it. architects today if you said ionic would think you meant ironic, and by doric they'd think "relating to the door" and if you said corinthian they'd say "yeah, the Corinthian School of ARt in Seattle, my friends go there!"
Beacon Hiller said:
Geeze. My kids love it. It works well enough for me. And it beats the hell out of the storefront library that Beacon Hill got stuck with for decades. THAT library was not politically neutral and it was a horrible piece of shit.
Clearly you need re-education. The old Beacon Hill Library was a fucking PALACE of Marxist elegance, and the fact that its message was lost on you shows only your shallow shallow life that is - INDEED - in slavery to THE MAN.
Hey "proportion rules" (@51), lost your Shift Key?
@50 - You've hit all the sore spots! ALL OF THEM! A-BLOO-HOO-HOO! My skinny jeans, trendy boxers, and modern communications technology are a shameful burden on my soul!
@53 -- quibble much?

btw "Shift Key" should not be capitalized. Forget your grammar rules much?

Also, the (@51) is redundant. You could have written,

"@51, did you lose your shift key?"

and that would have been shorter and sweeter. Like the beacon library, your work is cluttered with things that add nothing and a return to classic forms, in this case strunk and white, omg I didn't use an ampersand there, yikes, would behoove u.

capisc? now, got anything to say on substance?
Looks like a cool library that I plan on visiting. The pricetage seems outrageously steep, but I bet it is serving the purpose and that is for reading, gathering, and serving the community. Too bad that you find money in Beacon Hill so offensive. What should it be, a series of run down shacks with handpainted signs ir signs worn off? It would certainly fit in but we want more.
You've hit all the sore spots! ALL OF THEM! A-BLOO-HOO-HOO! My skinny jeans, trendy boxers, and modern communications technology are a shameful burden on my soul!
@54 - Glad to know I pegged your WHINY SELF INDUGED SELF - you are the poster child for why people just shake their heads.

By the way, I sense you have some sort of obsession with me. I'm used to it, but I don't go for guys in skinny jeans with their underwear showing, much too immature for me. But if you send me an email, I'll forward you a picture of me that you can masturbate to.

As they say, Fuck You Very Much...
Does anyone know how well this building functions as a public library? Or is appearance the only thing worth considering when evaluating the success or failure of a library's design?

I'd love to hear from people who actually use or work at the library.
@58 -

It functions well.

It's layout is functional and the structure itself is inviting and pleasant to be in. The building is unique, and the wooden "super-structure" is interesting to look at.

It is MORE than purely "functional", it is a nice place to read a book or magazine and drink a coffee - at lunch, after work...

It's a very nice building. Perhaps not to everyone's architectural style sense, but it's more than a concrete block.

And, contrary to this “story”, it does not scream “Slave Ship” in any way.
Oh, sorry, Zifferelli. Turns out you're not the uncritical middlebrow Seattle dipshit I thought you were.

You're actually a right-leaning, reactionary, total-asshole dipshit.

My bad.

(For the record, if there's any "political correctness" in this story, it's the library's silly and superficial nods to assorted "cultures". Charles' criticism is the precise opposite.)
You're actually a right-leaning, reactionary, total-asshole dipshit.
Nope, wrong again. Bleeding heart liberal, from a long line of bleeding heart liberals. Never saw a Democrat I didn’t like (except for Rodney Tom). I assume you’re a pathetic “Ayn Rand” Tea Bagger…

I don't fit into your "clique" of over indulged immature assholes, for sure.
Erm... yeah. Because at any point I said anything that would make you think I was remotely on the right.

Also, you're the one who has spent this thread spewing quintessentially right-wing buzzword accusations about "political correctness" and "Marxist" architecture.

And you never met a Democrat you didn't like? That's fitting, because Washington politics is a petri dish of the most pathetic, most ineffectual, all-around dumbest specimens ever to align themselves with the Democratic party.

Turns out I was right the first time. You're an aging, complacent, self-satisfied moron without fifteen brain cells to his name. Sadly, Seattle is full of you.
@57 - Oh god please stop putting me in my place with your well-observed and completely coherent insults! It hurts so much!
I tried to come up with some crit but to no avail. good poetic piece CM; I like how you didnt force an alternative solution [still might be an interesting angle to explore though]. MORE fearless ART CRIT PLease!
how is this a newsworthy piece? This might have been interesting when it opened, but it comes across as whiny. I can't believe I used those minutes of my life reading this.
Oh god please stop putting me in my place with your well-observed and completely coherent insults! It hurts so much!
It's clear to me, "MacCrocodile", that you are infatuated with me. But I need to let you down now, I'm not into immature teenagers. True, I like a "hot young guy", but I'm really not into the kind of drama that a boy of your age and / or maturity brings to a relationship. We will not be having sex. I'm sorry.
Turns out I was right the first time. You're an aging, complacent, self-satisfied moron without fifteen brain cells to his name. Sadly, Seattle is full of you.
The typical prattle of a self-indulged moron who can't see beyond their on hubris. Congratulations, you should read this: http://www.salon.com/2013/01/19/ayn_rand…
I am only here commenting because I couldn't comment on Christopher Frizzelle's post about this post. I make it a point not to ever read a post written by Charles. He just pisses me off, and not in the good way, in the bad way.
Considering Beacon Hill is mostly Asian, I think he should take it up with them. I'm sure Mr. Mudede appreciates that Asian culture in general (as I am lumping them all together) have many types of canoes and boats that are used for fishing and I think once he has done some thorough research on how it is important to the Filipinos and Chinese in the area and how the library makes them feel, he can get a fuller picture of what the library really does for racial diversity. It would be such a shame to write an article touting the dark effects a public building has on racial diversity and not once to have asked anyone else their opinion - particularly from the groups in the area that the library he was disparaging is supposed to represent.

(Beacon Hill: 51% Asian 20% White 13% Black 7% Latino/other)
Please Charles pleasepleaseplease write about MoMA's decision to demolish the Folk Art Museum? I'm eager to hear your take on it - my mind is made up but you might cause me to rethink it.
I'm so fucking tired of terrible HDR photography.
I've visited and spend time in all but one or two of the SPL's 23 or so branches, and like Beacon Hill best of all. Moreover, the Capitol Hill branch the author praises is my least favorite: It's cramped and entirely undistinguished, and has but a few self-service checkout stations; in consequence the librarians are harried and impatient. If I recall correctly, the Capitol Hill branch provides zero parking. And it's small. It already looks as though it urgently needs a makeover.

Mudede is imposing a peculiar aesthetic/political template entirely his own on the Beacon Hill building and its architects, and I suggest by extension the branch's likely patrons; he is, in a word, patronizing.

I like the Beacon Hill branch. I was prepared not to. But when I went inside I thought "cool." (If you want to date me.) Pleasant. Calm. And hey even some great little quirky details.

I don't like the overall program but that is from the Library Board and Librarian, not the architect.
Hey, Ziff, what part of "you're the crusty conservative in this discussion" are you having trouble with? Your ass-backward rhetoric betrays your claim of Democratic affiliation.

Indeed, you're such a dipshit you will accuse the same person of being both "Marxist" and "Ayn Rand-ian". That's some Fox News level of stupidity, there!

Beacon Hill: 51% Asian 20% White 13% Black 7% Latino/other

What decade is that from? And what classifies as "Beacon Hill"?
That's not writing, it's trolling. Please hire someone with enough skill to create an interesting article without having to resort to petty, inaccurate free-association. Thank you.
long live the beacon hill branch library.

not because it's good or bad, but because it keeps charles awake at night and forces him to sweat and gnash his teeth every time he walks by it. it's mere existence poisons his soul. his children fear it. he'll never have a sober night, knowing it's out there... housing books.

charles can live anywhere on earth, but that building will most certainly outlive him, and possibly everything he ever loved.

the fucking gall of that building... it lives to shit on one man's hopes and dreams. and to prevent books from getting rained on. but mostly, to shit on one man's hopes and dreams.

@71 is right, those photos are horrible, they are post processed too much.

Decent article though, CM has a way of pissing me off but once I get over myself I realize he has an interesting take on things.

Talking about horrible architecture, whomever designed the new condos across from Kings Hardware in Ballard should be ashamed. Their building kills the vibe of the whole street and looks cheap as shit next to all the stone buildings.
@74 - Hey "d.p", in ten or 15 years, you will grow up. Until then, spew on, it's "entertaining".
Lmao at the teabagger pretending to be human. You ain't foolin anyone ziffer.
@79 - Hey "Zifferelli", in ten or 15 years, you'll still be a fucking moron. Until then, spew on, it "makes me weep for humanity".
Brilliant critique.
This article is a disgrace, and The Stranger should be embarrassed. It is morbidly self-indulgent, overwrought, and full of baseless hate. I have long avoided reading Charles's work: it makes my soul crinkle every time I glimpse at it, at how actually poorly written and self-trumped it is. Charles Mudede's "work" is a pock in a publication I otherwise love. It looks like I'm not the only one. And now he really has gone off the deep end with his subject matter - correct, Charles, you have. He should be dismissed.
This article is a disgrace, and The Stranger should be embarrassed. It is morbidly self-indulgent, overwrought, and full of baseless hate. It is full of assumptions; it disparages the whole library as if the library IS the building (false, of course); it compares the library to Donald Rumsfeld. So ludicrous - I mean, is this even real? What a gross act of attention-seeking.

I have long avoided reading Charles's writing: it makes my soul crinkle every time I accidentally read it. How actually poorly written and self-trumped it is! Charles Mudede's "work" is a pock in a publication I otherwise love. It looks like I'm not the only one - not by far. And now he really has gone off the deep end with his subject matter (correct, Charles, you have). He should be dismissed, or take a very long hiatus.
@75/Catalina Vel-DuRay

I received my information from the census that the Unites States Government takes every 10 years. When was the last time you where south of Jackson street? Also, if you don't know what constitutes Beacon Hill, be a big kid and look it up. There are many fine maps online.
This white guy likes it. A very nice building that doesn't try to look modern with just different colored portions but a nice take on mid-century modern updated for the now. What would you have preferred? A shanty with a concrete roof and electricity that only ran sporadically a few hours a day?
God forbid anyone build a nice, interesting building. Why not make it a square brick windowless prisonesque monstrosity so we can make sure no one isn't confronted buy the ugliness of this world. I see racism and sexism in lots of places and ideas, but Charles is a freaking ghost hunter. 'did you hear that?, sounds racist!'
This is great
I hate that library Charles. I hate it. I hate it because you told me to hate it. Now what are we going to do?
I hate the downtown library too. It is full of homeless people washing their feet in the sinks in the bathroom. The other day I saw a chinaman wearing a coolie hat that was so big it took up the entire aisle. I couldn't get around him so I challenged him to a karate match. You should of seen it. He got a couple of good moves in but luckily I watch the UFC, so I know some good moves too. I hate that library. Everyone should hate it. Hate hate hate hate
Have I gone off the deep end? Am I just being mean and saying things that have no basis in reality?

-yes chuck, you have.

-yes chuch, you are.

-and also fuck you.
This article had something for everyone - the Mudede haters, the Mudede fans and the folks like me somewhere in the middle.

Ridiculous analogies? Check!

Pretentious, pathetic references to Marxist philosophers? Double check!!

A reasonable point hiding underneath layers of horrible, horrible writing? Ding, ding, ding!!!

If he'd just written this as a first person account of what it's like to be part of a racial minority living in a predominantly minority neighborhood and how he feels about white architecture that is imposed on that neighborhood and that he views as being informed by a spirit of misguided liberal do-goodism, this could actually be a good article.

He's got a point. This is one of the most segregated and most liberal cities in America. There is something intellectually dishonest about that city celebrating diversity with a Caucasian caricature of that diversity without actually doing anything to help minorities become a part of the divided city.

Unfortunately, there's also something intellectually dishonest about using Frederic Jameson and Claude Levi-Strauss to make some desperate plea to validate your emotions (which, as emotions, don't need external legitimacy - just enough research to make sure the facts they're in reference to are accurate).

Seriously, editors, Charles could use just a little of your help.
Additional thought - a lot of the comments here have an ugly racial undertone, more or less overt. This article seemed to make people uncomfortable, so kudos to Charles for that...exposing us for the hypocrites we really are.
This article is bad. Like high school essay bad.
When old enough to date, I hope Mudede's daughter walks into the living room one evening and says "Dad, I want you to meet my boyfriend" as the Beacon Hill library reaches out to shake Charles' hand.
Seriously, Charles? Okay, I'm not black, so I'm not going to quibble with your first impression of the roof as the inside of a slave ship (way to go nuclear by the way) but this article smacks more of elitist highfalutin condescension than anything in, on or floating above the Beacon Hill Library. I know you're into fancy prose and Marxist cultural critics, but we the people of Beacon Hill are a little more low-brow than that. Do you live in Beacon Hill? I've never seen you at Tippe & Drague or The Station or any of the other great community haunts that makes Beacon Hill such a great neighborhood to live in (where, by the way, that little scenario with the Panama hat would NEVER happen). I frequent the Beacon Hill Library three to four times a week with and without my five-year old and every time I am there I see a clean, well-tended, well-run library with, yes, a quirky architectural design, where kids and adults of every shape, size, color, religion and ethnicity are gathering to read, look for a job, have lunch in the breezeway or attend the sundry events the library hosts. Did you bother to actually experience the library rather than just look at it from high up on curmudgeon hill? Being well read and educated doesn't give you the right to shit all over everybody's day. Regardless of who designed it, the Beacon Hill Library IS multicultural because it is a community. PEOPLE make a community, not blueprints and wood. Life as a grump has got to get old after a while, Charles. Chill out. Be happy. Try it. You might like it.
Some interesting discussion about quirkiness, though what is quirky to one person is poetic to another.
Also, I'm not sure Carlson Architects even intended for the building to reflect the diversity of the neighborhood(as if you could do that in any meaningful way).
I've visited the library many times, and found that the library seems committed to serving their diverse constituency, which is the important thing.
What the fuck? Do you actually get paid to write this shit?
I hate that I wasted my time reading this article. What a negative piece of shit.
It would be one thing if the Architect(s) had acquired design techniques from multiple cultures (ie those many cultures that make up the people of Beacon Hill) and completely fucked them up.

It is another thing to represent a quirky and upcoming neighborhood with funky design. Seeing as this neighborhood is on the uprise and in need of some quirkiness, creating a unique feel for Beacon Hill is important to establish community. I don't feel embarrassed by this design at all. I live and on BH and feel proud to be a part of such a diverse community as it is represented in the flesh, not in wood or concrete.
There's something wrong with you if you immediately think of slave ships when you walk inside a wooden building.

This article literally reads like a Sociology essay written by a college freshman.