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Thread: Architectural Design Controls - Case Studies

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    Cyburbian oulevin's avatar
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    Architectural Design Controls - Case Studies

    I writing a paper in support of architectural design control methods. Does anybody have any suggestions on good case studies? I'm looking for cities and districts where outspoken pride and loyalty emerged from the better sense of place. I'm also looking for cities/districts that benefitted economically from increased tourism and improved residential base.

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    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Cape May, NJ .. everything must be done in Victorian style. Sorry, I don't know of any links or studies, probably a quick search on the net though.

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Another thing to look at might be heritage preservation literature. It tends to talk about increased property values and tourism benefits.

    For new development, many of the communities in Maine have really tight standards. I have seen pictures of a McDonald's that does not have the golden arches or required corporate building.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I seem to recall an article in Planning Magazine (no, really!) about Winnetka, Illinois in the past year or two.

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    Cyburbian
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    Architectural design contol? as in forcing architects to repeat one design or style endlessly? my! that's agreat idea to make dull and boring city... I'd even call it anti-architectural....

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    Cyburbian oulevin's avatar
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    What they do is prevent sloppy development. Design controls are meant for smaller cities and districts/neighborhoods that seek to evoke a sense of place, not as a land use policy for a major city.

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    Cyburbian
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    Sure it'll eliminate sloppy development.... but restricting design to just one model or type is nonsense... It won't make a sense of place, it'll rather create a sense of dullness and monotony, making it a boring town architecturally speaking...

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    But Skeleton:

    1. Some communities WANT degree of conformity-what you call "boredom" and "monotony."

    2. Given the horros inflicted on the world by the various "MODERN-LOOK AT ME BLOBBY WALLS AND CRUMBLING STEEL BEAMS" school of architecture, some communities want to restrain the creative geniuses bubbling out of the architectural schools. This may be horrifying, but not all communities are very tolerant of the new. And, of course, this case is a very, very small minority of communities.

    3. The biggest reason for design controls is they can require a minimum level of civillity. In a world of "Towns next door" with concrete block boxes, signs on wheels, cloned corporate burger shacks, et al, design standards can impose, artificially admittedly, a little higher community standard for design. Will it be great architecture? Probably not.

    As for the question at hand, one suggestion I would have is that focus areas require Third Party architectural review. Architects on retainer independent of staff AND the applicants can provide a needed perspective. Fairfield uses this process and a fairly stringent design guidebook for one of its outlying districts, and one could argue that it has helped encourage higher quality design (the fact that its all newer and a little more affluent has helped, too, but. . .) Our guidelines don't dictate a particular style. They address issues like quality of materials, (preference for "natural" materials) arcticulation of facades, landscaping, etc. I can think of at least one fast food shack that looks a lot better than it would of without the design guidelines and third party review. Whether the community should be imposing this level of design is a political decision. IMO, the lack of a Jack in the Box at that particular off ramp would not have been a tragedy of vast proportions, but at least we got a better design. Darn, I;m babbling.

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    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    I just read the chapter in "Making Places Special" by Bunnell about Providence, RI. Very interesting reading and some of their guidelines were on the City of Providence website.

    I think architectural design standards are wonderful. We are investigating them for our smaller community which has a lot of homes from the turn of the century (the last one, not this one) which are architiecturally interesting and distinct. I think in our case the aim is, like oulevin says, to prevent sloppy development and more to the point, in our case, to prevent inappropriate/inconsistent additions and alterations to the existing structures. In addition, we are looking at controls for infill development which promote housing styles which are in keeping with architectural design of the other houses. Notice I say "in keeping" and not "are the same as". I think there is a big difference.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Architectural design guidelines can be as explicit as saying something like "only Colonial Style with red brick and white trim," but are more often generalized to simple patterns. Downtown guidelines, for instance, usually require such things as a minimum percentage of transparent wall surface at the street level, i.e., windows so that people can see what is inside; or height, massing, and materials compatible with surrounding structures so that a one-story metal garage building does not sit between traditional three-story brick buildings. These kinds of controls are meant to create an attractive district, enhancing its economic competitiveness. Within these guidelines, there is still a lot of room for architectural expression.

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    Cyburbian
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    Ok... I'll give you that there should be control of the sloppy shit some "architects" create as architecture... but forcing a style or characteristics is dowright bad... You can do something of a diferent style and make it bond well with other styles... of course that is where the quality of the architect goes on the spotlight.

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    I think, Skeleton, that noone hear would disagree with what you just said. Forcing a particular style will not work in most cases. Even Santa Fe, home of the pueblo-style drive-through restaurant, is rethinking some of its standards.

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I am going to expand on my previous post and maybe to SkeLeton's ideas too.

    There are appropriate locations for design standards and less appropriate locations for them, making teh decision is the hard part.

    Appropriate locations would be where the landscape / streetscape is of importance and can only be maintained by providing guidance on what is appropriate for a location. This is best exemplified in heritage preservation areas.

    Areas that are inappropriate for design guidleines would be most "new" suburban developments or areas with very little existing character or design features. That being said, it does not mean that requesting chains and big boxes to "tone down" the crap they build and make it visually interesting and fitting in the region they are locating should not be done.

    Hope that is clear.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  14. #14
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Coral Gables, Florida has very strict guidelines with an appointed architectural board. They even have to approve the color you paint your house, inside and out, but I don’t see any enforcement of the inside!

    The City’s motto is “City Beautiful” and it is, but it might be a little too strict, because it makes development VERY expensive and it is non-economical to build low income anything.

    www.citybeautiful.net
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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