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Thread: Buildings Spanning Street

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Buildings Spanning Street

    We may be looking at a new building with a proposal to span a street. This is going to be a very debated topic, in a community very sensitive to design. The proposal could have the potential to be an attractive edition, or even a gateway feature. On the other hand, it could be an obstruction, spoiling views and making the street behind it seem "shut-off" from the rest of the district. I wonder if the Throbbing Brain might have examples of buildings where this has been pulled off successfully. Images would be helpful.
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    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    The only examples I have are all bad, and I bet you can picture them all in your head too:

    1) Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee's Walker's Point

    2) Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex.

    3) Paper Valley (dont know the current hotel name - Radisson?) Convention Center, Appleton, WI. It doesn't span College Avenue, but I recall it spans a side street.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    Will this span a smaller side street or a main thoroughfare?
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

    We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans. -- George W. Bush , Scranton, PA -- 09/06/2000

  4. #4
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Try looking at the "Midwest Airlines Center" convention center in downtown Milwaukee,WI. It's not bad but I wouldn't neccesarily say it's great.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    The City of Scottsdale has two at the posh Fashion Square mall. They both seem to work well. One is a side street, the other is a major through street.


    This shot is from one side of the street to the other with the span on the left. It is only about 1/4 mile from my office, but I go under it so infrequently. I think it spans 6 lanes of Camelback Road.

    Also of note, the immediate area is almost entirely commercial, though two 135' residential condo/office units were recently approved on the side of the street the picture was taken from. I wouldn't say it detracts from any views at its height, but a lot of Scottsdale residents opposed the towers. I think they were proposed at 185'. The will take away some views of nearby hills, but I think people really just opposed any verticality because almost nothing in the area is over 50-60'. Old Town Scottsdale just isn't "The West's Most Western Town" anymore.
    Last edited by ludes98; 07 Sep 2004 at 4:10 PM. Reason: added pic

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Some more information:

    The building would be sited parallel to a major highway. It would span a side street ending in a 'T' intersection at the highway. While the sidestreet does not carry much traffic, it provides access to an important shopping district (hence the possibility of a 'gateway' feature), and it facilitates access to the parking garages serving the area. In other words, it would be difficult to close.
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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Some more information:

    The building would be sited parallel to a major highway. It would span a side street ending in a 'T' intersection at the highway. While the sidestreet does not carry much traffic, it provides access to an important shopping district (hence the possibility of a 'gateway' feature), and it facilitates access to the parking garages serving the area. In other words, it would be difficult to close.
    Hey Cardinal. Where is this location? I know we're close together with our jobs, can you give any info out?
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

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  8. #8
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Here is another example, and a big one!

    H. Roe Bartle Center - Kansas City Missouri



    Does nothing for me...but hey...I'm not an urbanista.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I can only think of a few.

    1) The Eaton Centre to the Old Simpson's, we saw it when you were in TO. It works well. It is only a narrow walkway between the buildings. because of the street width and shadow it does not feel as bad as the next example.

    2) This one is a complete disaster, the Galleria in London, ON



    When you drive through this space it is really dark and cold feeling, I would not want to wait for a bus there.

    3) There is also that one with the concrete couch we saw in Yorkville. Maybe Dan has a picture? I know it is not a public street, but it visually looks like one.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Wellington's main University campus is in the central city with a major thoroughfare running right through the middle. So, to take some of the pedestrian traffic off the street, they built a pedestrian overbridge linking two of the main buildings. It is well utiliised, has seating, and is a popular meeting place. It doesn't block any views because it is located on a fairly steep street. We build everything on hillsides here!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    The only examples I have are all bad, and I bet you can picture them all in your head too:

    1) Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee's Walker's Point

    2) Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex.

    3) Paper Valley (dont know the current hotel name - Radisson?) Convention Center, Appleton, WI. It doesn't span College Avenue, but I recall it spans a side street.
    The Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton, WI does NOT span any streets. There are two skywalks that eminate from it, both connecting it to parking ramps and other buildings. One crosses College Ave (the city's downtown 'main' street), the other Superior St (a minor side street). The skywalk across College Ave was very controversial when it was built, but it and the innovative building that it connects to on its way to the Washington St parking ramp have worked well.

    The only building in downtown Appleton that actually spans a public street is the City Center building, originally the H.C.Prange department store, which along with the adjacent Avenue Mall (now considered to be part of 'City Center') are built over 'City Center St' (originally Midway St), what is basically a wide back alley, looking and feeling a LOT like a dingy tunnel. Very utilitarian and overall unattractive. The top two floors (5 and 6) and part of the first floor of what was the department store now house Appleton's City Hall.

    ---

    Does anyone know more about the specifics and how well the complex of parking ramps and other things that are built northwest of First Av N in downtown Minneapolis, MN are working out? I believe that they span several side streets, along with I-394.

    Speaking of buildings in Wisconsin that span streets, how could any of you forget Monona Terrace, built over John Nolen Drive in Madison???

    Mike
    Last edited by mgk920; 07 Sep 2004 at 8:11 PM.

  12. #12
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    I can only think of a few.
    3) There is also that one with the concrete couch we saw in Yorkville. Maybe Dan has a picture? I know it is not a public street, but it visually looks like one.
    This is the first one that popped into my head. Perhaps I can find the time to grab a picture this week. Cardinal, what type of spanning structure is being contemplated - a retail concourse, residential, or just a walkway?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    We have several street spanning buildings here in my city. Two of these are in the CBD but span side streets that have no retail activity and are used mainly as cut-throughs between major streets. The other large one is a public housing tower that spans over the main entry street to what what used to be the third largest shopping district in Pennsylvania. Well meaning urban planner decided that they could soften the impact the public housing towers would have on the neighborhood by creating a "gateway" into it's comercial heart. What happened instead was a physical and psychological barrier was created that ulitmately nearly killed the neighborhood. Thankfully, thirty years later, the neighborhood is starting to show signs of life and the "gateway" is slated to be demolished in the next few months.

    Wish I had some pics to share 'cause it's pretty bad.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit
    Wish I had some pics to share 'cause it's pretty bad.
    Are you refering to Allegheny Center AKA "Agony" Center?
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    Are you refering to Allegheny Center AKA "Agony" Center?
    No. Planners didn't place street spanning buildings there, instead they razed an entire historic neighborhood - street grid and all - and built the urban renewal cluster%*@$ that is Agony Center. I was refering to the East Liberty ('Sliberty to the locals)/ Penn Circle area.

    Besides, we can't demolish Allegheny Center. If we did where would we cage, errr.. I mean house the Art Institute students.
    Last edited by biscuit; 08 Sep 2004 at 10:27 AM.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Tabor Center in Downtown Denver

    Take a look at the Tabor Center Mall overpass in Downtown Denver.....could be a good start..... These things tend to work better in big downtowns where the scale makes sense when compared to all the 10+ story buildings nearby....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  17. #17
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Detroit Examples include:

    Mayor Cobo Convention Center, Spans a freeway, a surface street, and cantelievered over two others (This is one big building!)

    DTE Energy/Edison Plaza, corporate office fortress

    Millender Center, mixed use building with Hotel tower, Apartment tower, shopping mall, parking, and people mover (elavated transit rail) stop.

    I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that come to mind.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Marquette General Hospital (Marquette MI) has one over college ave. But that is in a residental area.

    Big cities have several cases...

    Kalamzoo has a walk way, and most of a garage over a street. (I kind of like it)
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    3) There is also that one with the concrete couch we saw in Yorkville. Maybe Dan has a picture? I know it is not a public street, but it visually looks like one.
    That's the first one that come to mind. I don't have a picture either, but it was very well done.

    The span is more than a passageway. It would extend about 1/2 of the block in width, and would likely include uses like lobby, meeting rooms, staging areas, etc. The points made about light and the feel under the building are good ones.

    Monona Terrace! D'oh! How could I forget that. Hmmm... not the best example, is it?
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  21. #21
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    a Gateway, literally

    This picture is of the Gateway (that's its name, but it is really more of a wall beweeen the East and West sides of Salt Lake City--as if I-15 weren't enough by itself), a mixed-use development in Salt Lake City. The first and second levels are retail, with residences above, and a few offices thrown in throughout for good measure. Overall, it isn't a terrible development, but my personal opinion is that the whole thing looks like hell--or something out of Disneyland without the big cartoon characters.

    Architecture and and a poor site plan aside, the image does show a walkway across a street that increases the visual interst of the area, as well as facilitating pedestrian movement within the development.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gateway, SLC.jpg  

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    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    There are several such occurences in the city I work in, White Plains, NY. But...White Plains is not your average city.... we have a bit of reverse sprawl for commercial development...as the city center is about the only place it can go in much of the county.

    I know it was proposed in an upstate city I worked for...and it was a big issue. Of course these were the same folks that were afraid of parking garages....
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  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    How about the Indianapolis Arts Garden, aka the Mothership? (it's round, and there are flourescent lights underneath it. When we drive under it, my husband always hums the theme from "Close Encounters") It spans 2 streets, and hosts art exhibitions, music, and gatherings of all kinds.
    (thanks to Google for the image)
    Because it's glass, it's largely transparent. It's too big and tall to see through when you're sitting in your car or walking, but it does let light through, so except when you're actually under it, it does feel quite open. Reflects the sky, too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Arts_Garden.gif  
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  24. #24
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Philly has a ton and they're all around the Convention Center. I'll probably have them by tomorrow. In general i think they're terrible. They're all in areas with a ton of ped traffic and they completely kill the life on those blocks . . . but these are pretty extreme cases. Most of them take up 1/2 to the whole block.

    I would say if it didn't take up more than1/4 of the block and was located near mid-block it could be really positive.
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    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Pictures

    You may have already seen most of these pictures in my other post but i thought i'd put them all together for you.













    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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