[architecture] Saving a community from a design blunder.

There are many paths to many examples of what not to do when it comes to Architecture and Urban Planning.  Architectural magazines and public buzz always centers around what’s the greatest works being produced today and so it should, but I see in so many, perhaps the majority of other projects, a waste of time, money and energy on poor design, and in some cases plain ignorance to the variety of issues Architects must comprehend and answer to, that, I feel it is time to say something.

For instance, in my residential neighborhood, there are two projects, one complete and the other one stopped in the middle of construction where Property Owners ignored the code and zoning, leaving the community with empty buildings and I’m sure their wallets empty.  In another circumstance I witnessed a Property Owner convert a beautiful brick building with large windows into a white dryvited, small windowed condos that looked more like a 1960’s ‘Project’.
Above: I step in to avert a disaster from happening in my neighborhood… this is an example, given the context, of whatto do. The alternative as proposed by the developer was a one story white box with a large red sign over the entrance.
In a last example quick example, I was able to step in where a Property Owner was selling the rights to a corner lot next to a public park (the photos and renderings in this article), to a pharmacy who’s only interest was to build a 1 story white box.  With some quick sketches, I was able to convince the Property Owner that he could make more money and improve the neighborhood at the same time.  Above are the examples of that effort.  Did the Developer say ‘thanks for the suggestions’… no.  But at least I can, along with the rest of the neighborhood, enjoy our community without a eyesore.
Regarding the ‘corner lot’ project, during the first community meeting about the project the community was totally up in arms.  But after taking my suggestions and re-presenting to the community with the new ‘contextual version’, there was silence in the audience with no one objecting.  It was quite a turn around of opinion and the Developer looked stunned afterward, especially considering the first public hearing response.
What was built:
Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 8.24.13 PM
As you can see, they took my advice and created a two story brick building, rather the one story white box they were proposing.  At least this is ‘character appropriate’ although done in a clumsy way with a terrible dry-vit cornice, and ill-porportioned window/facade relationships.  They also created a little set back along Smith Street, similar in concept to my proposal, to give pedestrians that little bit of extra space, creating a nice place for trees.  Those ‘white rectangles’ over the windows are also awkward, but overall not the worst building ever built and essentially it can be seen as just a place for the pharmacy, noting that locals who walk everywhere are well aware that there’s a pharmacy there, so no need to act like this is the suburbs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.