To its 117 elderly residents, Wesley Acres is simply a peaceful place to pass their twilight years.
Only when viewed from above does it become apparent that the retirement home is built in the shape of a giant swastika.
Following complaints, steps are being taken to alter the shape of the 1980-built establishment in Decatur, Alabama, so it is no longer a symbol of Nazi power.
Unmistakeable: It’s hard to argue the building looks like anything but a swastika
But the question remains: Was Wesley Acres merely an accident or an expression of far-Right beliefs by its planners?
Prompted by complaints from a Jewish activist, the agency that owns the government-funded building is planning to alter its shape to disguise the Nazi symbol.
Avrahaum Segol, an Israeli-American researcher, claims the swastika shape is homage to German scientists who designed the V2 rockets launched against Allied targets in World War II.
The scientists were brought to nearby Huntsville after the war to work on the NASA spaceships which would eventually put man on the moon.
Mr Segol calls the Alabama retirement home a “sister building” to a swastika-shaped barracks at Naval Base Coronado in California and says they were both part of a government-funded conspiracy to honour Nazis.
But Mike Giles, a lawyer for the Methodist Homes Corporation of Alabama, said the conspiracy claims are “ridiculous,” adding: “It was certainly not intentional.”
“The difficulty is there are a limited number of options for fixing a building that has been there for some time.
“We have to come up with a way to fix an appearance that we want solved and not hurt our residents.”
Wesley Acres provides government-subsidized housing for 117 low-income people ages 62 and above. Most have no reason to suspect their hallways take on a sinister shape.
The one-story building, designed in the mid-1970s and completed in 1980, underwent £500,000 alteration in 2001 with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development following complaints by Democratic Sen. Howell Heflin, who has since died.
But the addition of two wings did little to hide the offensive shape – and in some ways accentuates it.
Options for the new renovations include the addition of covered porches or other outdoor areas.
The latest push to rid the landscape of the broken cross shape follows complaints from Segol, the same Israeli-American researcher who last fall helped publicise a swastika-shaped barracks at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego.
The Navy said it would spend about £300,180 to alter the building, which opened in the 1960s, but the work has not yet been done.
Segol calls the Alabama retirement home a “sister swastika” to the building in California and says they were both part of a tangled, government-funded conspiracy to honour Nazis.
The shape of the retirement centre is evident in satellite photos available on the Internet.
But it is located in a residential section in a city with few tall buildings, and many in Decatur have no idea Wesley Acres resembles a swastika.
Mr Giles said any changes to the building must be relatively inexpensive since the agency lacks money for an elaborate solution.
Planners are considering modifications, he said, “so that from the air it takes your eye away from what was originally there.”
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