Back in 2008, the City of Akron managed to land on the JHK's Eyesore of the Month page with a new art museum that resembled an alien mothership landing atop the historic post office. Not to be outdone with ridiculous architecture in northeast Ohio, the City of Canton has responded by installing a corinthian column in front of a 1960s brutalist architecture structure that resembles a nuclear fallout shelter (ironically the Municipal Court and City Hall building). While a lot of different euphamisms come to mind regarding this work, lipstick on a pig seems to fit best for Canton's Column.
The City of Canton actually has some beautiful examples of neoclassical architecture downtown, but the brutalist achtiecture monstrosity that is city hall was dropped in the middle of the downtown in the 1960s. Typical of this form of architecture, it is cold, univiting, and generally deadening to the surrounding area. So, obvioulsy the answer to this horrible place is renovate part of it and to add a classical element to it... right?
Part of a 2.4 million dollar renovation, an artificial stone column has been nixed and returned to this project over the course of the year. Originally, John Picard, the project's architect, identified that the column "signifies beauty, nature, strenght, importance and historically a place of the people." Canton's architectural review board rejected the idea of the column initially, striking it from the project, but the architect argued it was "urban art" and was needed to identify the building's public entryway... ya know, like the big golden arches outside a burger joint. The architectural review board then allowed the column to be incorporated into the renovation. So the column remains as "a functional urban art element that signifies a place of importance and announces an entry," according to Picard. Again beneficial, because as a public building there is no clear way to access the building or any indication of which face of the building is meant to be the front. Basically, the building is a scary and unfreindly environment... just what we all need from a public building.
You can read the original article with pictures here: http://www.cantonrep.com/news/x1406680471/Canton-City-Hall-face-lift-almost-done
(I intended to add a few pics of my own, but the images will not load.
By the way, the City of Canton, like many northeast Ohio cities, is broke. But 2.4 million to put a little lipstick on the pig apparently was a worthy project.