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Concrete Reasoning

Last weekend we caught a photography show called Midcentury Modern Buildngs in Phoenix at the local library. The Phoenix metro area doesn’t have a whole lot of eccentric midcentury architecture, but what we do have is something to be cherished. I’m glad to see a gallery of prints celebrating this stuff before short-sighted developers destroy or remodel it out of existence. A special favorite is the Uptown concrete and steel fantasia officially known as The Financial Center (seen in a vintage postcard view below), which we call “The Computer Punchcard Building”. The high-rise building in this spacey complex was completed in 1972. Inside, the offices are tiny and cramped and the whole place seems like a fire trap — but the outside sure is neat. A selection of images from the show can be seen at photographer Michael Lundgren’s site.

Financial Center, Phoenix

7 Thoughts on “Concrete Reasoning

  1. Thanks for the link–the pictures made me homesick (and/or timesick, if that’s a thing)…How long is the show running? I’d love to see that. The “Financial Center” has aways been a special favorite of mine–in fact I used it as the campaign office location for my first screenplay “The People’s Choice” (yet to be filmed, but I can dream…)

    It occurs to me–and not in a comforting way–that many of the under-35 set who drive by that building every day have no idea that it’s supposed to be a giant punchcard,or for that matter what a punchcard is.

  2. Christopher on August 15, 2007 at 9:28 am said:

    Best. Building. Ever.

  3. I think my all-time favorite building in town in out in Scottsdale, right in the heart of the Superfund area. I think it’s a Motorola, but I’m not sure. It’s around Hayden and McDowell. It’s long, glassy and profoundly space aged, in a increasingly ghetto kind of way.

    Oh yeah, seen this article?

  4. Derrick, I know that Motorola building well since I grew up not far from there. It did have a mysterious forbidding quality back then, especially the round water tower thing next to it! Liked that, and the shell-shaped church by Los Arcos, and the Logans Run-esque concrete water park near Hayden & McDowell.

    That article? Oy vey.

  5. Cait – The library rotates their gallery every 2-3 months, so I’d guess the show isn’t gonna be up much longer.

    Have you seen the movie “Suture”? One of the round buildings served as the improbable living space for Dennis Haysbert’s character.

  6. How glamorous. I love the contrast between the tall skinny building and the short drum-shaped buildings. Does it look like this in real life? Or rather, how little does it look like this in real life?

  7. Gary, it looks nearly identical to the postcard in real life. They’ve added a sign to the right of the right round building and built a small strip mall-like structure behind the left round building, but that’s it. And the beige paneling on the tower is showing some wear and tear.

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