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How does your communty handle modern architecture?

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
In the local paper today, the City where I work was taken to task because the Architectural Review Board denied plans for a new house because it was too different from the homes around it.

Here is the article

How do your communities regulate modern-looking residential architecture?
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
It seems to me as a shame to discouraged individuality, but we live in a society where people would rather eat at Applebee’s than a mom n pop, so go figure.

We are a homogenized society.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,155
Points
51
All that I know for sure, is that it any development of changes happen within one of our 3 historic district's they must get approval of a historic architectual review board. Further more, there is a large development that it does not fit into this historic nature of the area, so it was truned town by the planning commission.
 

ambmason

Cyburbian
Messages
46
Points
2
modern design

I think that the key here is having quality design guidelines that address building mass, scale, materials, and articulation of facade. With these qualities in place a modern design can be incorporated into an existing community in a positive way. This also keeps the politics and sense of arbitrary decisions at bay. If it meets the guidelines it's approved, if not, it's denied.

The architects and other members of our design review board are fond of modern architecture and openly encourage creative design that still meets the standards for our historic districts.

The article did not say if this was a historic district or other design review area with guidelines, if there are no guidelines in place how does the board fight appeals of arbitrary decisions?
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
The only guidelines that the Architectural Review Board have are:

a. No building, structure or alteration shall be permitted incorporating a design, materials, style or exterior appearance which are so identical with those adjoining as to create excessive monotony and drabness;

b. No building, structure or alteration shall be permitted incorporating an exterior design, style, size, or materials which are inconsistent in relation to the surroundings (in terms of both natural surroundings and existing buildings and/or structures), such that the building, structure or alteration would result in an inharmonious and/or haphazard development of the immediate neighborhood, immediate area or the applicable district established by the Glendale Zoning Code;

c. No building, structure or alteration shall be permitted incorporating an exterior design, style, size, materials or site on the property such that the building,. structure or alteration would unnecessarily destroy, damage or impair the natural beauty of the area; adversely and substantially effect or impact property values of the immediate neighborhood; or unreasonably affect or adversely impact the beauty and general enjoyment of existing residences in the immediate neighborhood or adjoining properties.

I think that the clincher was "b".
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
jtfortin said:
I think that the clincher was "b".
When I read the paper this morning I knew jtfortin would be posting soon...

jt - your 3 design regs are classic 1960's regional planning commission boilerplate.

I think every municipality in a 7 county region has those 3 paragraphs.

We take a hands off approach to single family development design review. 99% of our new developments are in newly platted areas and the developer controls architerctutal reviews. The other 1% tend to be agriculture related and on 35 acre lots, so no neighbors care much...

On the other hand, this obviously intelligent architecture prof. should know to establish a context senitive design. Granted the street has little unity, but damn, the guy that called it a Jiffy - Lube was right on the money!
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
We only have a few (3-4) vacant residential parcels and they all have big time issues, otherwise they would have been developed by now. Our Architectural Review board reviews every new residence or residential addition and this is the first time that I have had them deny something. The paper didn't put in a photo of another design that he submitted that would have eliminated all of the brick and had cedar siding all around. My guess is that the flat roof is what killed it. If he would have incorporated a more "traditional" roofline, I think it would have passed.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
We are pretty hands-off when it comes to custom single family design review, but we do have (bascially ignored) boilerplate "policy" talking about context, scale, etc. Because of neighborhood outrage about one home, we did adopt an FAR cap of 0.5 on new custom homes.

Unfortunately, I can only think of one 'modern" house built since I moved here 11 years ago (for a widow who wears black turtlenecks). Everything else is pretty much bloated stucco tract homes blown up to 6,000 square feet and covered with various fake trim materials. But, they have hard-wired entertainment centers and room for four cars!!!!

Unusually enought, the City government itself has completed a couple of pretty interesting modernist buildings. Our transit center (bus transfer facility, transportaiton planning offices, and park-and-ride facility) is quite neat and expressive. Less successful is our coldly modern performing arts center (inadequately programmed)
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
We don't regulate residential design at all - other than height and other typical zoning restrictions. Our design review commission only regulates commercial development - and not too strictly. Our local historic district was abolished in '96 after homeowners complained that the regs were too burdensome and expensive for a blue collar neighhborhood. In a town full of mill housing, neighbors here might welcome that modern house.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
UPDATE:

The architect appealed the decision of the Architectural Review Board to the Board of Appeals and they reversed the denial. They decided that the ARB overstepped its review authority by giving the neighbors final say on the house design.

It also helped that 4 neighbors spoke in favor of the house and only one spoke against it (even she said that she could live with the design).

Hopefully this will keep the local paper's resident architectural "expert" (I use the term very loosely ) off our back.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
The only places where we would regulate design are in the historic district and the downtown. Even in the downtown, the concern would not be to recreate the existing commercial vernacular architecture so much as it would be to encourage a design that is harmonious with the existing streetscape.
 

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
Architecture as selling.

When trying to interpret, criticise or understand any piece of modern architecture never underestimate the importance of the client architect relationship. Whenever i get a brief to design a theater, art gallery, research laboratory or any building, i try to look for case studies of such buildings around the world. Then i will pay specific attention to how the architect dealt with the individual or organisation, which was his/her client.

Sometimes the client can change from one end of a project to another - this is often the reason for poor design decisions etc, not the architect. Some architects like to show the client a number of ideas, and allow the client to pick one - giving the client some feeling having picked out the one, of 'ownership' and participation in the design process. It works on the scale of house design, the home occupier enjoying a certain deserved level of credit for what they have obtained as an end result. In this particular case, it was the architect who was also the client!

Are all you planner people here saying that the architect should be untrue to what he preaches everyday inside in college? Are you trying to tell me honestly, that the client (in this case the architect) should be untrue to that which they really want to have as their home? Of course, not. So from day one, the stage was always going to be set for a confrontational battle of Planner v. Architect. But I would just like to qualify this, by saying Planner v. Client. (in this case the architect)

When my employer in the architects practice here, decided to renovate and extend an old farmhouse ‘in a traditional manner’, most of his employee young ‘Rem Koolhaas bridgade’ of architects hated him for it. I am sure that Mr. Lecturer in Milwaukee University would have to take a similar amount of abuse from his angry young undergraduates, had he opted to go the route: I will NOT fight the planners, and instead I will work with them.

The problem with architecture today, is not selling the product to the young students Mr. University lecturer talks to everyday in the studios. But selling the concept to the broader public. Unfortunately, because architects spend so long trying to convince each other how to design, what is good and what is horrible – they have just about forgotten the main sell – Joe average, Joe Sixpack and you or me.

Coop Himmelblau’s principle architect, Wolf Prix once told this funny story: On a flight from America to Europe (9 hours) he was unfortunate enough to be sitting beside another famous European Architect. The famous Architect proceeded to tell Wolf at length and in detail about his current projects. After 8 hours talking the architect then stopped and said, “Here, now I have been talking about myself for too long now. I am interested in what you have to say. . . What do you think about my architecture?”

Architects have decided some time ago, to allow Planners to accept total responsibility for activating, emulating and being the chosen voice of public consciousness. This is never good enough in my opinion - Architecture has to learn how be accountable by itself, for all its actions. Unfortunately, this client/architect bond is a very strong one - much, much stronger than the planner/community one in many ways.

That is why so many architects will blame the client too, if he is not allowed to design a modern house.

Some good examples:

Steven Holl is very good at dealing with planning bodies with most of his architecture. To achieve his end result, Steven always coins phrases and descriptions of the project from the very beginning. Why? Because over a time period as the design is seen by clients, other staff members, planning authorities and the public – the images embodied in the ‘catch-phrase’ take hold in the imaginations of people.

Read about his church of the seven sacriments, To understand how he managed to still keep his seven towers, even when the budget was about to be slashed by the client. At one point it was going to become the Church of the four towers, but someone said, “No, It has to be the Church of the Seven Towers, that is what it was from the beginning”. If Architects really want to learn how to promote their buildings and ideas, it is about learning PR skills, marketing skills and show-manship.

Daniel Libeskind (Ground zero rejuvenation project architect) is a genius at this. Once he entered a housing development competition in Berlin, with an entry to flood the whole site and make a man-made lake instead. He won the competition! Ken Yeang in Malaysia is a great promoter of ‘Marketing and Architecture’ for his bio-climatic skyscraper ideas. He talks of educating your market, a bit like a fisherman will often sprinkle bait around in the hope of attracting a nice fat Carp!

Coop Himmelblau often treat there architecture for roof tops in central Vienna as 'Works of Art' and therefore not subject to normal planning guidelines - projects like their rooftop remodelling, which is about as far as an architect can go 'against the planning establishment'. Coop Himmelblau complain that too many architects nowadays use inability to bring projects to fruition owing to planning restrictions as a crutch basically. One they could do without.
 
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garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
Mind you, having just read this following article:

By the time the first sod was turned on their first building — at the former Devoy barracks in Naas, two weeks ago — HPA had won competitions on three continents. “There is no proper competition system in America,” says Peng, “apart from invited competitions for established architects. The only way young talent is promoted is through exhibitions and teaching. It’s atrocious.”
Europe’s architectural competition system creates more opportunities for the younger generation than the American open market does. “The US has three architectural magazines,” says Peng. “Europe has 35, with little duplication. Almost every building published is great. There is real reason for enthusiasm and hope in Europe.”
I may not blame Architects for being sad anymore. They competition HPA have won, is the biggest competion ever - and attracted literally thousands of entries across the globe. Check out some of the final chosen entries for yourself.

http://www.gem.gov.eg/index/competition/Competition Results.htm
 
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