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Thread: Endangered NYC - Lost & Threatened Treasures

  1. #106

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    Unfortunately, new construction that looks like that is the only kind most New Yorkers can afford.

  2. #107
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    For those of you Manhattan-centric folks out there who may not know what I mean by "Fedders brick boxes," they are your typical new construction found in the outerboroughs.

    Take a subway ride to either Brooklyn or Queens and you'll know how widespread they are.
    Hey now, BX and northern Manhattan have their fair share as well. The good news is that many of these developers got stuck holding the bag and now have the unexpected and unwanted pleasure of home ownership.

  3. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    They are the go-to firm for many private, small time developers with small budgets (a Kondylis-Kaufman version for Brooklyn residentials).
    I wonder if these template buildings are an unwelcome side effect of modern architecture. It seems like, in the past, there was a "language" (i.e. Federalism, High Victorian, Classical Greek, etc.) to follow, and as a result, you didn't get a badly designed building on a small budget. It seems now-a-days, if you have a small budget, you're getting something uber-crappy.

    Maybe all the heavy hitters of design out there, and their strives to create something new and unique have unfortunately failed to define an architectual language for those further down the ladder to follow?
    Last edited by Shadly; January 6th, 2009 at 04:17 PM.

  4. #109

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    How do you think the "heavy hitters" stay in business?

  5. #110

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    I'm glad someone is pushing the envelop, but their designs are less and less transferable to the plebs. I don't think it's necessarily because of design talent, but more to do with the construction costs of some of these structures. It used to be that a good carpenter could build himself a very nice example of a Queen Ann house. You can't do that now; that's why you get the brick boxes.

    Maybe it's just the widening gap between the rich and poor. There isn't trickle down effect in style anymore.

  6. #111
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Those two family home boxes are also known on this side of the river as the "Bayonne Boxes" for their ubiquitous presence in Bayonne. They have been cropping up in Jersey City for the last decade and are almost if not exactly the same as the ones shown in those photographs in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

  7. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadly View Post
    I'm glad someone is pushing the envelop, but their designs are less and less transferable to the plebs. Maybe it's just the widening gap between the rich and poor. There isn't trickle down effect in style anymore.
    Absolutely. I had this exact same thought last night walking on the UWS near Lincoln Center. The area immediately around Lincoln Center is such a hodgepodge of the absolutely disastrous -- much of it postwar apt towers built on huge plinths 3 times the length of the tower, leaving yawning gaps between the upper floors of buildings (mostly Costas Kondyises in their most recent incarnations) -- and the grand (the Dorilton and other pre-war breathtakers).

    Walking from Broadway to CPW in that area, I was convinced that Art Deco was the last great American style of architecture -- that's easy to think when you walk past The Majestic, then, 20 blocks later, you're sucked into the vortex of the Zeckendorfs' big F&$* You to the city, the International Project Style complex Park West Village.

    But, ironically, when performed to exacting, costly standards, Bauhaus and the International Style can be glorious -- and the step from Art Deco to Bauhaus is so obvious. It seems that what happened was that the 20th century took a decent thing and ran far, far, far too far with it. The International Style, it seems, is almost a boutique style -- it looks good if you're building a Seagram Building or a Palm Springs mansion in it; but the style also lends itself to the slummiest things known to post-Iron Age western civilization.

    All quite amusing when you think Gropius and co. meant their architecture to be for the masses. It turns out it only works well when built for the ultra-rich.

    The masses in their tenements got much better architecture than anyone in Park West Village. I can only hope that's razed soon, and that a return to Art Deco -- or, really, anything that preceded it -- is made, rather than trudge on with Bauhaus.

  8. #113
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    You're looking backwards.

  9. #114

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    Hey, sometimes you have to look backwards to move forward when you're in a rut. Isn't that what the Renaissance -- the word we most use to describe a (successful) revisitation/transformation -- was all about? Looking back to the Greeks and Romans to get us, eventually, to today...

  10. #115
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    I think maybe eventually we will have totally machine made laser cut building elements that will be available to order so yes, I can see some detail coming back at sometime in the future.

  11. #116

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    There's no need to move backward, there's plenty of good modern architecture, just hardly any of it is being built here.

  12. #117

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    ^^ Don't mean to nitpick; I'm genuinely interested in getting your thoughts, Derek: Is there any place where the good contemporary architecture you allude to is being built (or can cost-effectively be built) on a mass scale that makes it affordable for all to the point where it is the standard of what is built?

    We hear a lot about China, but it seems like the flashier stuff that's built in China is so many cheap tricks, unlikely to age well (the Olympic natatorium is already said to be discolored) and is in any case dwarfed by the innumerable commie blocks being built there.

    Persian Gulf cities that have been in the limelight look like Shanghai or Moscow in their eagerness to embrace cars and the tower-in-the-park architecture that comes with them in all the pictures I see (odd that they would want to develop an urban culture that creates demand for oil...). Moreover, the Gulf isn't a very relevant example insofar as Dubai or what have you are spigots for wasting as much surplus oil revenues as possible and not places where construction costs have any meaning.

    I think the best examples of places where good contemporary architecture exists and is available to all must be in Northern Europe. Berlin, Potsdamer Platz aside, has a multitude of new (at least I thought they were...) townhouses and apt buildings -- 5, 6 stories -- densely built and thoroughly urban. I've seen less of Scandinavia and the Netherlands than I'd like, but I think they're on to something. Unfortunately, all of the architecture I like in these places is on a small, townhouse scale. Which, of course, Gary Barnett would never accept and Bloomberg/Tierney/City Council would never ask him to build.

    Perhaps New York would do better with something more along the lines of the (somewhat bland) aesthetic the Pacific Northwest -- Vancouver and, slowly, Seattle -- are creating?

  13. #118

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    New Zealand - Rocks!

  14. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stroika View Post

    Perhaps New York would do better with something more along the lines of the (somewhat bland) aesthetic the Pacific Northwest -- Vancouver and, slowly, Seattle -- are creating?
    Which is? Any images?

  15. #120

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    When danger rears it's head, be it political strife abroad or bland working class architecture at home, look to Hollywood celebrities. There was a good article in Architectual Digest last month I believe. Brad Pitt is building () cheap modular homes for New Orleans. Some of them don't look half bad:







    Maybe since Joe the Carpenter can't just throw together a Gehry whenever he wants, tasteful modular homes are the answer to otherwise bland brick two family homes.

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