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Thread: CityPlace, West Palm Beach

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    CityPlace, West Palm Beach

    West Palm Beach's CityPlace is probably one of the most successful New Urbanist infill projects in the country. In the familiar scenario of south Florida redevelopment a marginal ghetto area was transformed into a haven for jet-setters and tourists. However, CityPlace is not just a festival marketplace: if you look closely you will see a residential neighborhood within it, independent retailers, and a Publix grocery store. CityPlace also boasts cultural attractions including the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, one of the best venues in the region. Along with the revitalization efforts in the Clematis St. area, CityPlace has brought suburbanites to the city and spurred infill redevelopment in a hollowed-out urban area. So despite the "boutique city" flavor CityPlace and the revitalization of downtown WPB is a good thing for a region where sprawl is king.

    A recent thread pointed to the fact that modern "traditional" architecture is quite absymal. While I can claim only a rudimentary knowledge of architecture I didn't get the impression CityPlace suffers the fate of its contemporaries. Nothing looks cheap and the details aren't overlooked, especially the arcades.









































  2. #2
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    A very informative thread and a balacned one.

    I'm sure oen could nitpick this or that detail, but overall a really nice development and it shows that 'new' does not HAVE to mean 'crap'.

    The firs two pictures, especically could be a town in Spain. Not an effect you often get in new developments especially in the US.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  3. #3
    1, 2, 4 and 12 are good. The rest are crude bordering on Pomo.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    h-d, nice pics. I may ask a friend to accompany me for a visit. Perhaps a mini-alefest with you at the Blue Martini?



    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    1, 2, 4 and 12 are good. The rest are crude bordering on Pomo.
    What do indigenous peoples of Northern California have to do with West Palm Beach? The Pomo are a proud tribe. I know several. And the more I think about your comment, the more offended I become.

    Moderator note:
    Personal attack deleted. Rest of response left for a good chuckle. You know better than that RJ.
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 04 Jul 2006 at 1:27 PM.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    He means Post Modern

    Life and death of great pattern languages

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Geez we are all too antzy to jump on each other over stuff we can't explain or assumptions that WE make based upon OUR OWN cultures!

    I thought he said porno, as in PORNO! Lighten up everyone.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Personal attack deleted. Rest of response left for a good chuckle. You know better than that RJ.
    Off-topic:
    Way the hell OT: My regrets. I may have over-reacted but I’m not chuckling. I had a dear friend, a NoCal Pomo, pass from Lou Gehrig’s disease recently. RIP, Jr.

    I’m still offended…yaws needs to be clearer (is that possible?). In fact, s/he should explain.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    I thought he said porno, as in PORNO! Lighten up everyone.
    I suggest an eye exam.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  8. #8
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodern_architecture

    Classic examples of modern architecture are the Lever House and the Seagram Building in commercial space, and the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright or the Bauhaus movement in private or communal spaces. Transitional examples of postmodern architecture are the Portland Building in Portland, OR and Sony Building (New York City) (originally AT&T Building) in New York City, which borrows elements and references from the past and reintroduces color and symbolism to architecture. A prime example of inspiration for postmodern architecture lies along the Las Vegas Strip which was studied by Robert Venturi in the book Learning from Las Vegas for the strip's ordinary and common architecture.

    Postmodern architecture has also been described as "neo-eclectic", where reference and ornament have returned to the facade, replacing the aggressively unornamented modern styles. This eclecticism is often combined with the use of non-orthogonal angles and unusual surfaces, most famously in the State Gallery Stuttgart (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart) and the Piazza d'Italia by Charles Willard Moore.

    Modernist architects regard post-modern buildings as vulgar and loaded with "gew-gaws". Postmodern architects often regard modern spaces as soulless and bland. The divergence in opinions comes down to a difference in goals: modernism is rooted in minimal and true use of material as well as absence of ornament, while postmodernism is a rejection of strict rules set by the early modernists and seeks exuberance in the use of building techniques, angles, and stylistic references.




    I apologize for any cultural groups that may be insulted by postmodern architecture, which really translates to anyone having to suffer postmodern architecture.

  9. #9

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    I would agree with jaws "best" list, while agreeing that this is better than average. Construction labor, impact fees, materials, and even land are probably cheaper in florida than Cal;ifornia , I'm guessing, so the PoMo can be a little "better."

  10. #10
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Let's say there is some postmodernism here, though I'm still skeptical. Do you think that the architects chose postmodern designs due to the fact that this is largely a commercial space and each building wants to stand out on its own with a unique identity? The individuality of expression (see pics 14, 16) is one of the features I quite liked. Wouldn't this place be less interesting with a more rigid, formal design?

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    Let's say there is some postmodernism here, though I'm still skeptical. Do you think that the architects chose postmodern designs due to the fact that this is largely a commercial space and each building wants to stand out on its own with a unique identity? The individuality of expression (see pics 14, 16) is one of the features I quite liked. Wouldn't this place be less interesting with a more rigid, formal design?
    Perhaps...However, I don't think critics are asking for a rigid Bath, England design. The problem is the cartoonishness of much po-mo architecture. It's like the designers (even hack designers hired by commercial development companies) can't REALLY take the rules and spirit of traditional design very seriously, so they goof it up. This is, like I said, better than a lot of the stuff I've seen, but it still suffers from the juvenile quality of much of our culture today. America cannot seem to accept being adults, so we allow ourselves to be steered into Disneyland environments.

    I think it would be better if the attempt at historical styling were more canonical (i.e., following the long-developed "rules" of the various classical revivals), had better detailing, and was less ready to take the easy way out of candy colored, crude EFIS design.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Like we said..miles ahead of the typical mall or strip development.

    Hilldweller, can you see the difference we're referring to between pic 1 and 2?

    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller




    To me there is a surprising difference in quality there. Very good the first. Kinda poor the second
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  13. #13

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    Luca: A perfect example of cartoonishness versus closer, more sypathetic following of traditional design language. Look at the crudeness, the lack of proportion in the bottom example.

    Could another reason be is that the second building is designed explicitly by marketing gurus to appeal to the WHIZ! BANG! NOW! NOW! NOW! FUN! FUN! FUN! ethos of modern recreational shopping and amusement (because we know the residents and visitors do their REAL shopping out at Wal Mart or Home Depot by the freeway). Being tasteful is NOT the goal at all, ephemeral bang for the buck is. Because, the retail will have to be "re-themed" or "freshened up" in five years, anyway.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    Hilldweller, can you see the difference we're referring to between pic 1 and 2?

    To me there is a surprising difference in quality there. Very good the first. Kinda poor the second
    Yes, there does appear to be a sloppiness to the second one.

  15. #15
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    One and Twelve are definately the best, IMO.

    I'd agree with those who think the rest of the development would have been better had more traditional design rules been followed. It would have provided for more variety and individuality, IMO. Some of the other buildings blend together in their lack of detail and cartoonishness.

    Based on my recollections of the last time I visited West Palm Beach several years ago (my sister lives there), this is actually a major improvement over what one would normally see. I remember most of the area looking like sprawly suburbia. She and her family were recently up north for a visit and it was interesting seeing how her kids reacted to an average northern/midwestern environment. They commented on how the outskirts of town - that street with all the chain restaurants and big box stores that every midwestern town has at its edge - reminded them of Florida. They also asked why there were so many churches! It took me a second to realize that down there they only have a couple Wal-Mart-sized megachurches rather than the many many small neo-gothic churches you see every few blocks in older cities.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian bocian's avatar
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    Some random comments.
    I know that traffic calming has had its role in West Palm Beach's revitalization efforts. Note the 'grittiness' showing up in one of the photos -- the one with the back alley, with a street lamp post already crooked Picture # 11 looks like a public school -- is it? Note the ugliest fence possible utilized in front of it though... All in all, picture #1 wins the contest for me, seems like a great public space, albeit not used very much (too hot?). I like the idea of New Urbanism applied in actual CITY scenarios. And arcades seem to be overused in NU, but they seldom NOT work in my view.

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