Should Architects Be Allowed To Sue Landlords?

Overtime everything seems to yellow. Especially Super Nintendos.

There’s a small apartment complex here in Phoenix that still carries remnants of it’s unique charm from the 1960’s. These swanky apartments were the peak of masculine modernity in their day. It’s a shame that you don’t see people designing for this kind of lifestyle anymore. Other than the cookie-cutter “urban loft”, there isn’t anything that screams bachelor pad anymore.

In 1965, Playboy magazine did a write up on these apartments. Real-estate developer Irving Shuman clearly had a vision for these apartments. The shallow conversation pit with a modern fireplace as a focal point conjure images of late nights the quickly become early mornings. The cork walls, the dark colors, the flowing drapes, and the floating staircase are all beautiful appointments that would still look amazing today.

You can tell this room was rich with oranges and yellows and browns. It was dark, masculine, cozy and sexy. The open bedroom at the top of the staircase just hints at decadant times. There’s even a lava rock water feature under the staircase that ties this look together. It has plants and bamboo and the gentle sound of running water.

Realistically, this is a simple space that anyone can understand and get. These apartments were designed to a certain aesthetic, and while it’s not the most flexible of spaces, it is what it is. And frankly, having any identity or idea at all, is light years ahead of most apartments and spaces.

So tell me. How the fuck do you mess this up?

This is like seeing that hot girl from high school who now looks disgusting but if you squint your eyes just right, you can still see who she was 20 years ago under the ravages of poor decisions by abusive men.

I know I complain a lot about white walls, but this is why. This is a small 900 sq ft. apartment that will never feel spacious. It’s a two story open loft concept from a bygone era. It’s not going to be bright and airy and flowing. It was built and designed to be a smoky, edgy, sex cave.

This is why I wonder if Architects should be allowed to sue landlords. I can’t imagine designing a space with a specific design and intention and then someone turning it into this uncommitted abortion.

Really? Tan low pile carpet and white walls? Those two pathetic dangling bolts of fabric loosely bunched and held open to let dim reflected light from the patio really highlight what a fucking slumlord you’ve become.

At least pretend to give a shit. Look at that fucking A/C vent.

This hurts me to see in so many ways. First of all, these photos were taken to SELL the apartment to future renters. These were the pictures they took to entice a renter. The water feature? Its broken. The fireplace? Only for show. The last of the remaining bamboo and plants are brittle and decades old: cut short and lifeless. The stains on that concrete give me the skeeves. This place was built to be an homage to masculine sexuality. But the landlords made it look like a STD.

This panel fascinates me. None of these switched and knobs are labeled. It’s like a control pad in the middle of your conversation pit, and I can guarantee that absolutely none of it works anymore. But just imagine how cool it could have been?

The thing that hurts me the most is that everything you need is still there. It still has all the bones. It still has the conversation pit. The fireplace is still there. The water feature is still in tact. And honestly, paint is cheap. All it takes is a little vision. Just a little. Like a tiny little bit. Like you can be legally blind but so long as you had the functioning eyespot of a flatworm, you could make this great again.

But the landlord doesn’t care. They market this place based on it’s former glory, but then they neuter it. This is why tan carpets and white walls are so destructive. They rob beautiful and unique spaces of all of their charm. They steal their soul and they offer nothing in return. They’re just blank canvases for the augmented reality of our imaginations.

A bed platform and dance mirrors in a round bedroom with brass track lighting should be amazing. But it’s not because of white paint and tan carpet. Ugh.
No one wants to fuck in this room. No one.

Just bulldoze it. If you’re going to treat this place with such apathy, just tear it down. They literally advertise this apartment with pictures of how it used to look and offer the bragging rights that your apartment used to be a nationally talked about sex haven. Then they shove you in a midtown slum devoid of every little bit of charm that made it special.

It could be so great. But it’s not. And no one cares.

The landlord demands his inflated rent, while you sit in your lonely, empty conversation pit, your legs falling asleep on the thin pile carpet. You remember your own youth and how full of promise you once were. You think about all the terrible decisions you’ve made that have brought you to this place and this moment in time. You’re a middle aged man, in a used-up bachelor pad, eating day-old Filiberto’s out of a leaking Styrofoam container. Your best days aren’t behind you. They never happened.

You look around your apartment and imagine the lives of the virile men who lived in it before you. You find yourself inadequate and lacking even when compared to the ghosts of men who no longer exist. Slowly you stand, knees cracking, and you run your fingers across the coarse cold concrete of a long dead mid-century fireplace. The stairs creak and moan under your weight as you climb up to bed. You forgot to brush your teeth, but you’re not going to walk back down the stairs to brush your teeth so you’ll sleep with a dirty mouth. You pick up the October 1965 issue of Playboy Magazine that your slumlord landlord gave you when you moved in. You shamefully masturbate to old photos of now-elderly women and you’ll sleep a few restless hours before your shift at the shipping docks of Spencer’s TV and Appliance starts.

Rinse. Repeat.

Goodnight space cowboy. Wow that got dark at the end.

5 thoughts on “Should Architects Be Allowed To Sue Landlords?

  1. Oh MAN. This is so sad. I was the archivist at Playboy from 2003-2008, so I spent a lot of my time balls-deep in old photos and layouts. I loved all the MCM design articles they did. The Hampton Bay ceiling fan next to groovy brass track lighting. Horrifying. RIP

    1. Jessica. They ruined it and they STILL market those apartments as Playboy Apartments today even though they killed it. I’m destroyed over it. It wouldn’t take much to do it right but they wilfully choose not to. Ugh.

      Also. Holy shit I love your tumblr. Definitely gonna dive into your stuff over the next couple days!

      1. It’s a terrible tragedy. I thought Phoenix was an epicenter of well preserved MCM! What’s the rent, I’m curious.

        And THANK YOU so much for you kind words about my Tumblr. Your blog inspires me to write more!

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