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Thread: Some nice buildings in Puerto de la Cruz [contains pics]

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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Some nice buildings in Puerto de la Cruz [contains pics]

    Following on from the urban form thread on PdlC, here are some pictures of excellent old buildings that survive in the old town. Sincere reproductions/inspirations of these buildings would grace any town, especially in a warm climate.







    Life and death of great pattern languages

  2. #2
    Those buildings are beauties. The scale, the symmetry, it's quite refreshing.
    "Sincere reproductions/inspirations of these buildings would grace any town, especially in a warm climate." Well, you're right of course but, as BKM mentioned in the other Puerto thread "How can you... ... provide a beauitiful environment when the ugly pavement for the two ton monster is needed?" In SoCal nothing is connected excepts wide roads. Even infill (with all of its potential) residential/ office projects are built like gated communities.

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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    What do you guys think. If I were to build a neighborhood of buildings like these with some mixed use, some 'townhouses' and a couple of roads of self-standing houses in an infill setting (it's have to be largish), would ti sell? would it 'pay'?
    I reckon yes, but I am honestly very interested in what you guys think.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    I reckon yes, but I am honestly very interested in what you guys think.
    I agree. It would sell fast. You would just have to find the proper location, such as a large abandoned industrial site in a large, urban city, or a under-utilized shopping center in a good location neighborhood in a urban city. You might even be able to do it in a greenfield setting as long as it was sufficiently connected to larger job centers via at least 2 modes of transport (freeway & commuter rail).
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  5. #5
    "I reckon yes, but I am honestly very interested in what you guys think." Your profits would be copious.

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    What do you guys think. If I were to build a neighborhood of buildings like these with some mixed use, some 'townhouses' and a couple of roads of self-standing houses in an infill setting (it's have to be largish), would ti sell? would it 'pay'?
    I reckon yes, but I am honestly very interested in what you guys think.
    Call me cynical, but I think you would rapidly discover that the prices of materials, cost of better than illegal immigrant labor (the craftsmanship in the buildings shown is pretty high), along with the hostility from public works engineers (more paving. more traffic flow), banking or financing forms, and the like would either price you out of the market in all but a few elite locations (Carmel, CA) or require a completely watered down product-at least in the United States it would. Unless the prefix before your name is not "Mr." but "HRH" followed by "The Price of Wales."

    Still, just because I am a cynic and lazy doesn't mean that someone with passion and commitment, like you appear to have, couldn't make at least a compromised go of it!

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    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    awesome pics in both posts !!!

    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Call me cynical, but I think you would rapidly discover that the prices of materials, cost of better than illegal immigrant labor (the craftsmanship in the buildings shown is pretty high), along with the hostility from public works engineers (more paving. more traffic flow), banking or financing forms, and the like would either price you out of the market in all but a few elite locations (Carmel, CA) or require a completely watered down product . . .
    I completely disagree. I think you have to find a town with a vision. Lots of towns have that vision they just lack the developer. Below is a link to a redeveIopment project in Collingswood, NJ. I was involved with this particular project in the very early stages - this is actually just phase 1 of a 3 part project called "The Heart of Collingswood". Personally i think the architecture is ho-hum. In the charettes the townsfolk knew exactly what they were looking for. The more classical and urban the look the more they liked it. They're definitely getting it on the design end but i think the reality of the market says "you can't sell $750k houses in Collingswood, well, not yet anyway" and thus you don't get the detailing that comes with that kind of money.

    The video takes a little while to load - even with a hi-speed connection so while it might look like it isn't doing anything it's just loading so open it in another window and come back to it when you hear the audio kick in.

    http://www.lumberyardcondos.com/movie/LYvillage.mov

    To see the broader context i posted this photo thread awhile back
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=1352
    7
    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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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Call me cynical, but I think you would rapidly discover that the prices of materials, cost of better than illegal immigrant labor (the craftsmanship in the buildings shown is pretty high), along with the hostility from public works engineers (more paving. more traffic flow), banking or financing forms, and the like would either price you out of the market in all but a few elite locations (Carmel, CA) or require a completely watered down product-at least in the United States it would. Unless the prefix before your name is not "Mr." but "HRH" followed by "The Price of Wales."

    Still, just because I am a cynic and lazy doesn't mean that someone with passion and commitment, like you appear to have, couldn't make at least a compromised go of it!
    1. On the engineers side, I guess something like this would have to happen in a community that has adopted/accepted TND norms already.

    2. On the banking/finance side, I would tend to go straight to 'wholesale' (property funds and private equity, rather than 'local' commercial mortgage lenders who tend to want 'more of what they know'

    3. On the production costs side, definitely these would not be low-income housing. However I think that architects like Greenberg are working at making very high-quality buildings more affordable to erect by using semi-modular construction techniques. You can build these using cinder block and then overlay lath/plaster (or even fine-grain concrete) over external ‘studs’ (not sure what they’re called properly). The micro detailing is just cast plaster that goes in with the overall plaster treatment. Painting the detailing is a low-skill job. Then you can coat the whole thing with a clear finish for water protection. [I know next to nothing about building, I’m just getting this off construction sites I ‘crash’) I reckon you could put up a building like that from scratch for about USD 150/200,000 all in if you were building in largish scale? What do you guys think it would fetch? About 275/325 K? (I''excluding in both cases the value oe the land, which is more site-specific) I'd be pretty happy with running that sort of margin on a 2-year turnaround.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I love the stain glass in the first picture. I wish that they put more stain glass in many of the newer buildings today.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    What do you guys think. If I were to build a neighborhood of buildings like these with some mixed use, some 'townhouses' and a couple of roads of self-standing houses in an infill setting (it's have to be largish), would ti sell? would it 'pay'?
    I reckon yes, but I am honestly very interested in what you guys think.
    You don't even have to go all baroque, buildings with nothing more than correct symmetry carry huge premiums. The new urbanists have been doing this for a while.

    The problem is going to be red tape. You will have to do it one tiny block at a time, fighting the regulators all the way. Like this project.

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    Wouldn't production costs be reduced by the fact that you only really have to ornament one side of the building (two at the most, if it's a corner lot)? Or is detailing like the above so much more expensive that it cannot be done in a cost effective manner?

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    You don't even have to go all baroque, buildings with nothing more than correct symmetry carry huge premiums. The new urbanists have been doing this for a while.

    The problem is going to be red tape. You will have to do it one tiny block at a time, fighting the regulators all the way. Like this project.
    Heck. We agree again, jaws. What amazes me is that with all the photography books, all the catalogs. All the measured drawings. Modern architects cannot seem to get simple poroportions "right." Especially California architects trying to do "Georgian Colonial" houses. I've seen only a handful that look "right."

    Wouldn't production costs be reduced by the fact that you only really have to ornament one side of the building (two at the most, if it's a corner lot)? Or is detailing like the above so much more expensive that it cannot be done in a cost effective manner?
    Not too much 'ornamenting" being accomplished on the back side of the WalMart store

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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Not too much 'ornamenting" being accomplished on the back side of the WalMart store
    Or on the front side - I've never seen an ornamented WalMart.

    But on smaller contemporary commercial buildings (particularly banks) you tend to see an attempt to carry the design all the way around the building. Then they surround it with landscaping, a ring of parking, and then more landscaping. It's usually a rather a bland design too.
    Last edited by Jack; 26 Jan 2006 at 1:06 AM.

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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jack
    Wouldn't production costs be reduced by the fact that you only really have to ornament one side of the building (two at the most, if it's a corner lot)? Or is detailing like the above so much more expensive that it cannot be done in a cost effective manner?
    Molded plaster or molded concrete ornament is not very expensive at all. Hand-sculpted stuff costs hundreds/thousands of USD but molded ornaments can be produced for tens of USD. I’m no architectural technologist but plastering over concrete is not a particularly difficult/skilled job.

    Start with 4 to 10 basic structural patterns of houses (the larger the development, the more patterns you need). Overlay a dozen or so different sets of ornamental elements (ONE per house). Right there you have 48 to 120 slightly different but ‘harmonious’ homes. Leave the painting to the imagination of the householders (but you might want to provide some ‘advice’). Better yet, keep, say, 10% of the ‘lots’ for slightly bigger, individually designed houses (which, however, must conform to the overall aesthetic).
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Especially California architects trying to do "Georgian Colonial" houses. I've seen only a handful that look "right."
    Why do you think that is? Are they just stupid/incompetent?

    Most new buildings in 'historical" styles are pretty poor; not as bad as almost all "ahistorical" ones, but pretty clsoe. It doesn't make sense. It shouldn't be so difficult, you can just COPY successful hisotircal buildings....

    If you look at work by Simpson, Greenberg, Stern, etc. obviously it IS possible. I don't even think it's a matter of money. Good proportions don't cost more than bad proportions... A Cape cod saltbox, even done properly, should be a dead CHEAP house to build.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    Why do you think that is? Are they just stupid/incompetent?

    Most new buildings in 'historical" styles are pretty poor; not as bad as almost all "ahistorical" ones, but pretty clsoe. It doesn't make sense. It shouldn't be so difficult, you can just COPY successful hisotircal buildings....

    If you look at work by Simpson, Greenberg, Stern, etc. obviously it IS possible. I don't even think it's a matter of money. Good proportions don't cost more than bad proportions... A Cape cod saltbox, even done properly, should be a dead CHEAP house to build.
    I am not an architect who has gone through any formal architectural training, so this is only MY understanding of very, very generalized reasons. Take them for what they are worth. :

    1. In the old days, especially during the days when architects were not yet "professionalized" (or intellectualized) (i.e., "master builders" as a profession), learning occurred through apprenticeships and on the job training. They absorbed good proportion, good design, good rules of thumb through direct observation.

    2. Today's architectural curriculum does not emphasize as much measured drawing of the great buildings of the past. Learning from past design solutions are deemphasized in favor of whiz bang technology and being au courant.

    3. How much good architecture surrounds the architectural student, the architect, or the client? If you are raised in a landscape of 1950s suburban strips and postwar junk, how much "learning though osmosis" can you benefit from? This can be especially seen in my example of "California Georgian": there's not that many "Colonial Style" (Georgian" architecture out here-and none of the original designs. This is not particularly new, the "colonials" in Hollywood and Beverly Hills from the 1940s and 1950s are almost universally awful to my eyes.

    4. Economic structure: If the clients are large corporate-or institutional-entitites with no ties to the community, why worry about good design? There is no family name at stake.

    5. The tyranny of "marketing." If the only thing that matters is a market image, and that "image" is established through garish colors and out-of-scale, cheaply built structures, why worry about silly details like "proportion."

    Just some thoughts: architects out there: why are modern buildings all so "wrong" looking? Why are they so awkward?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    2. Today's architectural curriculum does not emphasize as much measured drawing of the great buildings of the past. Learning from past design solutions are deemphasized in favor of whiz bang technology and being au courant.
    It's worse than that. The architectural education (which has become mandatory for practicing architecture through the system of monopoly professional unions) actively suppresses traditional architecture as incorrect and perverse (telling students Leon Krier is a nazi for example). Architects who go through the neverending educational programs are not only learning the wrong skills, they are learning to avoid learning the right skills in order to maintain their status as professionals.

    It's not difficult to learn basic traditional design. Any of us could do it, taking a few online classes. Or just from reading books. We have a clear advantage over them, we don't have to unlearn anything.

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