First, let me acknowledge that no one lives in Tucson because of what humans built. We have a handful of great buildings, but none can compete with the desert, the mountains, or the sky.
Our greatest human failure occurred in 2000 when "we" (federal taxpayers) spent $81 million on the Evo DeConcini federal courthouse downtown. The General Services Administration hired a Los Angeles firm to design this pile of disconnected styles surrounded by oceans of concrete.
The lead architect, Norman Pfeiffer, told the Arizona Daily Star's Bonnie Henry in 2000 that the design was inspired by the diversity of the desert. Does that include the part where lizards scurry across blazing-hot surfaces in the middle of the day? Because that is what pedestrians do as they cross the so-called "summer garden" to enter the building from the east.
The west entry of the building is just as uninviting. Hello, Mr. Pfeiffer, it gets HOT in Tucson much of the year. We need trees. We need shade. SOS.
This is the prison-like east facade. Now that I think of it, perhaps it is fitting for a building in which many people are sentenced to prison.
And the mean side of me says that I hope the man who named this building, former Sen. Dennis DeConcini, is ashamed. The Arizona Democrat, in final acts as a senator, managed to get this building named after his father, Evo DeConcini, and a Forest Service building in Safford named after his mother, Ora. Politicians should never be able to name buildings after themselves or their relatives. Still, I smile to think that the worst public building in all of Tucson is named for his dad. So sad (wink) for Evo DeConcini, qué no? And Mr. Pfeiffer, please come spend a morning -- at any time of year -- in your building's summer courtyard. Do you know the word desiccated?