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Pal Alto's Ugliest Building Contest

Original post made by Kate on Apr 14, 2013

Let's start a new contest - this one for "Palo Alto's ugliest building". I nominate the new
low income apartments on Alma Street where Ole's used to be. Have you seen the slit's for windows?? I pity the people in 800 High in back of it - they'll never see much sun or sky anymore. The new residents won't see much of anything. This must be the next step beyond "New Urbanism". Is there a name for it? Where was the ARB, the Planning Commission, and the City Council on this one? Are they all 'out to lunch"?

Comments (21)

Posted by HUTCH 7.62, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Ugly Eichlers, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I would say most of the Eichlers in the city and most of the homes in Professorville


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2013 at 7:56 pm

City Hall.

Not because of the aesthetics, but because of what goes on inside. Definitely the ugliest.


Posted by anecdote annie, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

The new apartments being built where Ole's used to be is the grand prize winner; three monoliths from a very bad sci-fi movie coming to life in what we thought was a very bad nightmare, but, SURPRISE! it is real-life! What myopic moron approved these?

I used to think the JCC was the worst thing I had ever seen, but these apartments have that beat all to hell and then some. I cringe in optic agony when I have to drive by!

Don't anyone tell me not to look at these apartments or the JCC, because they are both so in-your-face that you would have to close your eyes and run stoplights not to see them!





Posted by bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2013 at 12:21 am

bru is a registered user.

Ugliest buildings in Palo Alto ... I nominate virtually anything that has been done in the last few years ... they are all outrageously ugly and lacking in judgement and taste ... unless you are the Borg Queen from Star Trek.

Since I go there so often maybe I should make a special note of the new Apple building where the interior surfaces are so hard the sound bounces around like ricocheting bullets and seems to have no more space and less functionality than the old Apple building - plus there is no restroom. They can keep your waiting and waiting, but if you need to use the restroom, forget it.


Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

There are many ugly recent buildings in Palo Alto. However, the JCC wins this contest hands down. It's the worst of them all. Close second is the new Mitchell Park library.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

Some of the ugliest are the Elks building, Mikis, the JCC, Mitchell Park library, and the claustrophobic feel of Bayshore between the new townhomes and the soundwall on 101. That latter part of Bayshore is like a tunnel with no room for bikes and cars when there is traffic passing in both directions.


Posted by Alan, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Easily the JCC


Posted by JCC is lovely, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the Cheesecake Factory in downtown Palo Alto. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

As for the JCC--is it the entire JCC or just the part at San Antonio and Charleston. And by the way, it doe snot come up to the sidewalk--there is a sidewalk and there are also areas for plant sand trees on both sides of the sidewalk--so claims it is up to the sidewalk are exaggerated. But anyway--too bad--it is built and a done deal. Time to get over it.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2013 at 6:14 pm

A tie between the JCC and the new Mitchell Park Center - where it seems to me that a large end of a blue shipping container is sticking out towards Middlefield Rd. Yikes, what an intimidating building.


Posted by Ugly Eichlers, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Why did it take over 20 hours for the editors to delete the comments by Hutch 7.62??? They deleted other comments that were up for shorter periods of time. Did they not find Hutch 7.62 comments offensive for 20+ hours??? Says something about the editing on this forum.

Another couple of eyesores, from the past that are no longer with us, were the Juana Briones home and "big blue" in College Terrace. Also the Eichler designed buildings in Edgewood Plaza are junk.
An example of a nice old building--The Hoover Pavilion on the Stanford campus. Stanford knows good architecture--unfortunately sometimes they are at the mercy of our useless Architectural Review Board (those who cannot function as architects serve on the ARB)


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2013 at 8:30 pm

The editing here is shameful and incompetent ... just plain idiotic. One mention of the word Jewish somehow earns a deletion of the whole post when the point is not disparaging in any way. I think the person doing the editing does not even understand what they are doing or what the terms of service even are here. They just want to delete comments from certain people or that say certain things first .. then as an afterthought they come back and delete the offensive stuff. Pettiness exercised to the level of incompetence.


Posted by Huxtable, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm

The A9 building at University and Alma with those strange projecting glass sheets.


Posted by More uglies, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 16, 2013 at 12:21 am

There's a gray box at 305 Lytton Avenue on the corner that's pretty ugly. They have recently put some decorative wood on one panel but for a long time it has been a plain flat box, painted gray.
Agree about the Cheesecake Factory, and JCC is the winner, hands down. There is no ignoring JCC, it looms over San Antonio Road.
901 Alma St., corner of Channing. Overbearing, no charm. Same owner 800 High, bizarre.
We should name the architects and developers of these buildings. Anonymous gripes are not enough. Everybody, look up whodunit.


Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm

The JCC section at Charleston/San Antonio wins hands down. But, I am beginning to wonder if the blue warehouse material sticking out of the new Mitchell Park Library is ever going to be covered. Surely they aren't going to leave it that way! Maybe they can grow some ivy over it?


Posted by Frank, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

JCC & Cheese Cake Factory - are certainly contenders. City Hall (just for the building) is on my list. There are several Quonset huts still around town (please don't tell me they are historic). Most of the strip malls too.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

The current Main Library is pretty horrible, inside and out. I remember the first time I went there 10 years ago, I thought I must of wandered into an annex or outbuilding - it is looked and smelled so old.

I actually like the JCC building ;-)


Posted by Buildings, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

The strange buildings with the oddly angled glass at University and Alma, along with most of those cited here. Although I think the Main Library building is a good building.


Posted by resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I think the JCC looks like a prison. It is right at the southern entrance to our city, so first time visitors wonder what kind of city they are entering. I thought it was ugly when it was first built and I still think it is the ugliest building in the city by far.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm

The new Alma apartments are hideous. Gaps JCC for ugly.


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