#6, Judenplatz, Vienna
I'm not generally a fan of the grotesque-human-face-as-architectural-ornament thing. Lean gargoyles with sinewy necks and bat wings, sure. But stick a cranky, grimacing Poseidon-like face over a doorway and I feel uneasy. I can't imagine walking past this every day, let alone through the door it protects. There's a passage in John Barth's The End of the Road where Jacob Horner, the rather unappetizing narrator, describes: "My sculpture on the mantel, a heroic plaster head of Laocoön, so annoyed me with his blank-eyed grimace that, had I been the sort of person who did such things, I'd have turned his ugly head to the wall." And yet he doesn't. He may prefer to look away, but for some reason he can't.
There is something redeeming, though, about this one, and I suspect it has to do with the 6. Maybe it's the genteel framing of the symmetrical number plates on either side. Maybe it's the splash of bright red and the "No." abbreviation. Or maybe it's proof of the humanizing effects of good typography. Anyway, I took the picture, and I haven't yet turned it around on my desktop.