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Photographer's Note

This monstrosity of a structure is, honestly, one of my least favorite buildings in D.C., as its almost grotesque utilitarian appearance reminds me too disturbingly of the fascist architecture in Berlin under the Third Reich and Mussolini's Italy. These linear, stark, colorless, soulless behemoths just have a menacing quality to them. That's rather disconcerting, considering that this building serves as the FBI headquarters, having been named for its founder. It was begun in 1965, with planning alone having taken several years. Work on the actual superstructure began only in 1971. It took ten years to build, and was completed in 1975. It's a gigantic structure: it has more than 2.8 million square feet of internal space, including three subterranean floors and an underground parking garage. At the time, at least, it housed an amphitheater, a 162-seat auditorium, classrooms, a firing range, laboratory space, a 700-seat theater, and reportedly, even a morgue. It's cast in concrete, reportedly to save as much money as possible. It eventually cost $126 million, just slightly over its estimated $60 million cost. 'Cause... the government. That's not surprising, perhaps, considering the half-decade-long delay. That was in 60s dollars, remember. Would be a bit more than that today.

This section of it reminds me of a giant spaceship; no idea what the front of this thing is doing! By 2012, apparently it was judged to have been at the end of its useful life (after a mere 37 years; so, remind me, HOW long have the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings been standing... and functioning? Guess they just don't build 'em like they used to!), so the GAO decided that it was just no longer appropriate for the FBI headquarters. Plans have been floating around for years about moving the FBI to another structure, but apparently the plans were shelved back in 2017 due to a lack of funding. Construction of an entirely new structure would simply break the bank, and there was a tremendous debate as to where that structure should be: many favored a move out of the D.C. area to somewhere more remote and less expensive, but apparently nothing has yet come to fruition. I don't anticipate, with the way things are going, that that dog's gonna hunt any time soon, which is unfortunate, in some ways. This thing is probably woefully outdated and in need of a major overhaul, at least, and so many people have criticized its appearance that few would probably be sorry to see it go. In 2005, one noted architect reportedly stated that it created a dead zone in the heart of the city, a black hole at the center of America's Main Street. Ouch. Several lists have named it as the world's ugliest building. Perhaps not, but it's definitely up there on the list. Maybe one of these days, the headquarters will actually move to a new structure and then this one can be demolished and replaced with something more in keeping with the rest of the soaring and inspiring architecture in the city.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 88 W: 78 N: 946] (1735)
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