Wasn’t sure where to put this but it seemed like this group might find this topic interesting.
For a while now I’ve been compiling a list of new-architecture that is built with a classic aesthetic. I’m a big believer that modern cities don’t come close to being able to compete with older ones in terms of aesthetic’s. many American cities after World War II tried to embrace modern architecture and it was a complete failure. The big question I’ve had for a while now is how do we correct those architectural wrongs in a way that developers find feasible.
After searching for a while I found two buildings that have the same steal frame shape with different facades.
I made a gif to showcase how retrofitting these ugly modern skyscrapers could be turned into more attractive buildings that the public appreciated as well as beautified the city.
My question is this:
What logistic hurdles and price point would be needed (in your opinion) to make a transformation like this happen.
I just want to see one retrofit like this happen there is a proof of concept that this type of beautification is possible.
I think a comprehensive survey of public opinion needs to be done before a retrofit like like can be justified in terms of cost and/or civic necessity. If the public (or a large representative random sample) were asked simply to respond GOOD-BAD-INDIFFERENT on a questionnaire about the ‘beauty’ of any given building in NYC: the vast majority would come in with a GOOD/INDIFFERENT response. I would come in at either ‘good’ or ‘indifferent’ on the MetLife Building, Seagrams, Lever House or any of the similar International Style buildings: they all have their own kind of cool, minimal simple beauty. That being said: such retrofits would not be justifiable in either terms of ‘civic duty’ or ‘financial viability’ . IMHO
You and I have a special interest in - and appreciation of - good architectural design: ‘people’ or ‘the public’ is the unknown quantity that needs to be defined and quantified. I am always asking friends, acquaintances and complete strangers if they ‘like’ a particular building, or think it is ‘pretty/beautiful/etc’ and I must say the response to almost ANY architectural design is GOOD, NICE, OK, INDIFFERENT. I struggle with the issue of ‘justification’ - is their really a NEED for such an drastic and costly process as a complete retrofit of the exterior of a large building. I understand why YOU see the necessity; however, I question your use of the term “Everyone seems to love beautiful old architecture”. Sorry about being such a contrarianL but that is my honest take on the subject.
I do not, no. Architecture is a niche interest in my experience.
I visit Europe (and let’s be clear, we mean Western Europe) for the fabric & contents of those cities.
I.e., that they are walkable, vibrant, full of great food & drinks, have history that many US cities lack, and have culture different from my own.
I’d be even more delighted with my home of Boston were it physically more like some European cities (greater amount of people space & businesses, larger residential buildings closer together, more trees + parks).
Lets remember, too, that all those beloved brownstones in the South End were once considered a blight, and cookie-cutter, when they were brand new, yet now we revere them thanks to the power of nostalgia and “don’t make ’em like they used to” feelings.
Building the way we do today is different, and we will likely look back on some of what we’ve built in the last few decades in similar ways, as we pursue yet more advances in materials & construction methods.
Just wanted to point out that just because something is old and admired doesn’t mean it just has to do with nostalgia. Many people like older things because they have far more character and craftsmanship than the cookie cutter, mass produced cheap stuff we have today.
My entire education and career has been based on the idea that ‘good’ architectural design is widely appreciated and valued: it is important, just not as ‘universally’ appreciated as I had believed when I was younger. Jeff above has a good - aka accurate term - for architecture: a “niche interest”. Thats a good way of stating the case.