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Requiem for a Nightmare

The fate of the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover Building—maybe the most despised structure in Washington, D.C.—is virtually sealed. As Brutalism edges toward extinction, cities should take stock.
relates to Requiem for a Nightmare
Mark Plummer/Flickr

"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work," Gustave Flaubert once said. I come back to this quote any time there is news of a Brutalist building being demolished or endangered. Whenever a Brutalist structure is scheduled for demolition, the city that hosts it grows that much more more regular and orderly. And that much less original, and, yes—in a couple of different senses of the word—less violent.   

This week came the news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation isleaving its home in Washington, D.C. While plans to keep the bureau downtown were always a longshot, a short list of candidates released by the GSA confirms that the FBI will build a new consolidated headquarters in either Maryland or Virginia. Washingtonian spotted the release and wasted no time in celebrating the FBI's departure—despite the fact that the move will send as many as 4,800 jobs to the suburbs.