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The Colorado Building
Excerpt from Dry Ice

Colorado Building

     Cozy liked to sit behind his big desk so clients were forced to take him in as part of the grandeur of the scenery. The wall of windows behind him on the top floor of the Colorado Building in downtown Boulder had a billion dollar bird's-eye view of historic Boulder, the foothills, the Flatirons, and a wide-angled slice of the Rocky Mountains, including a hundred-mile chunk of the Continental Divide.
     As gorgeous as the view was – and it was world class – that's how ugly a stain the building where Cozy worked was on the Boulder downtown landscape. If architects could be shot for malpractice, the one who designed the monstrosity would have long before taken a bullet into his or her soul. The Colorado Building had been erected as though someone with a modernist's palette determined that a late nineteenth-century Colorado Victorian frontier town needed nothing worse than it needed a horrendously out-of-scale, eighty-foot tall, red brick and reflective glass cereal box to cleave the very soul of downtown into two roughly equal halves. When I got worked up about it, something I did just about every time I was confronted by the thing, I tried to remind myself that the architect shared responsibility for the travesty with myriad owners, developers, and city planners. Most days the reminder failed to modulate my criticism, or diminish the fact that I wanted the architect's throat.
     "Don't you feel . . . unclean working in this building, Cozy? It's the architectural equivalent of driving a Hummer."
     He manufactured a smile. He glanced out the window. He said, "No."
     From our present perch it was hard to argue with him. Despite its lack of aesthetic charm – with its most recent fenestration the building looked like a gingham glass gate hung between two brick walls – the views to the west from its upper floors were so stunning that it was easy to forget that I was standing inside a monument to architectural pornography.

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