I’ve worked in my fair share of sterile, brutalist government buildings, but Arizona’s state capitol building in downtown Phoenix looks like it was lifted from Bratislava circa 1983. In one of the more embarrassing anecdotes of government malfeasance, Arizona actually sold off the state capitol and several other buildings in the complex to private interests back in 2009. That, uh, didn’t turn out to be such a smart idea, and the state has been trying to buy them back for the better part of a decade.
Things could have been so much different for the government complex, as well. Back in the 1950s, state lawmakers turned down the chance to transform the government mall into a manicured oasis in the name of fiscal responsibility. The master plan’s architect? None other than Frank Lloyd Wright, who was keen on adding gardens, reflecting pools, and fountains. They built the Soviet-style towers a few years after turning down the architectural icon.