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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  137 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Creeping Plague Of Ghastly Facadism

    This is self-loathing.

Naaah it's pure, unadulterated NIMBYism. Calm down, dear.

Mallet, Porter & Dowd before:

Mallet, Porter & Dowd after:

You know why this happens? Because someone wants to remodel a building from eighteen diggity two for, in this case, student housing and they're given two absolute, unflinching requirements:

1) They must meet or exceed modern building codes for accessibility, energy efficiency and safety

2) They must satisfy their local building council that they aren't changing the character of the neighborhood, subject to the whims of the neighborhood building council.

You're left with two choices: (A) gut the fuckin' building and leave a facade hanging (B) don't remodel.

The local building council has one obvious motivation: preserve the value of their neighborhood. I have friends who used to develop in London back in the '80s and they pointed out that the reason central london is so expensive is it was the only place that could have modern architecture because the Nazis bombed everything. We were buying beer at a bodega with a thatched fucking roof at the time.

HIlo, Hawaii is like this. If you want to remodel anything you have to bring it up to flood standards which means basically putting it on stilts. As Hilo is mostly full of natives, it's a run-down collection of shanties with moss growing inside. Kona, Hawaii is not like this. Because they expanded the airport to be closer to the resorts and the resorts are all built on bluffs so the tourists stay in modern, inviting white people skyscrapers.

Facadism is a direct response to local property owners doing everything they can to drive up property values. Especially in the UK: we're not talking about fucking Caernerfon we're talking about Victorian poor houses and sweatshops.

goobster  ·  137 days ago  ·  link  ·  

These pictures are exactly what happened to the Rainier Cold Storage building in Georgetown. I was a part of the Community Outreach project, when Sabey bought the building and was trying to get plans approved for it.

Turns out the building was built fast and cheap just before the turn of the century as a cold storage facility for Rainier Beer... and when you build fast and cheap by the lowest bidder, they use shitty bricks and grout. So the building falls apart, and the grout covers the sidewalk like beach sand, and you can scrape it out with the tip of your finger...

.... but the anti-development people have placed an inestimable VALUE on this iconic brick wall, and EVERY attempt by Sabey to do justice to the building, the history, and the neighborhood was shut down by fuckwits who don't understand the value is in the LOOK, not in the BRICKS.

So, instead of a gorgeous modern brick building with the flair and style of the old Rainier building, they had to reinforce and renovate a single wall made of shitty bricks and grout... which ate up so much budget that the REST of the building looks like it was puked out by an intern who never got past International Style design in their Architecture 101 class.

I talked with the Sabey guys, and they could have knocked down the original wall and rebuilt it - properly, with good bricks and grout - for 1/50th of what they paid to shore up the shitty wall. And that ate their entire design budget.

So now historic old Georgetown has what you see in the link above: a modern concrete shitbox with a brick wall grafted onto it. (Pan left to see what Georgetown USED to look like, before the "Historical Preservation Society" got involved in architectural decisions.)

mk  ·  137 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Point taken. However, I was talking about self-loathing in a very broad context. We build shit, but literally cannot face it. I agree with the reasons.

Here in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan has been effective at putting up new buildings that have the character of their neighbors of yesteryear. They've put up some steel and glass shit as well, but haven't mixed the two that I've seen.

Of course, UofM has a largess of embarrassing proportions, so they can do what they please.

kleinbl00  ·  137 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This thread has anything either of us could say.

I will point out that the difficulty of renovation is what killed 72 people in Grenfell Tower.