Punch card

One of these photos is the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, the other is an IBM punch card.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center at 71 W Van Buren Street in Chicago was designed by Harry Weese & Associates in 1975.

This looks like an example of Brutalism, which Weese was known for.  Brutalist architecture is characterized by blocky concrete buildings with repetitive angular geometries. The phrase was coined by Le Corbusier, who called it in French béton brut, or “raw concrete.”

This is not the only thing people have said looks like a punch card.  There is also Bicentennial Park at Ohio University designed by Maya Lin, and the Engineering Research Building at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The university where I grew up would throw away boxes and boxes of these cards; people used to make Christmas wreaths out of them, spray-painted gold.

Here’s also some tantalizing bits available in snippet view about Chicago architects that mentions the corrections building.

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2 Responses to “Punch card”

  1. Julia Says:

    Shocking similarities !

    • Nijma Says:

      Isn’t it fun? I first heard this on an architectural tour years ago.

      Another building they said was meant to look like something was the deco style Carbide & Carbon Building, all in black marble, built for a coal company to evoke coal. There is a story on wikipedia about it being modeled on a green champaign bottle with a gold top, but I really can’t see that one. The building is definitely all black, and I think very elegant.


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