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Name for that ubiquitous style of new apartment architecture

ChairmanMeow

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I ran across an article a while back that talked about what to call the style that's usually seen in TOD apartments, and I cannot to seem to find the piece, or remember the style names.
 

Luca

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Historically, styles tend to get a sort of 'official' name well AFTER they are introduced and perhaps faded from the cutting edge of fashion. In their time they are just referred to buildings today (unless they are very histrionically referential)..

I agree with you that it is a style that is prevalent in current apartment construction of a certain target (including here in London). If I had to come up with a name I might go for "post-post-modern" or "2000s vernacular" or "lego-style". :)
 

Doohickie

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Here in Texas I've heard the term Texas Donut used to refer to ~5 story apartment buildings wrapped around parking garage at the core.
 
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luckless pedestrian

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It is pretty universal - it's like they took a list and hit check on items but no realy thought to design.

Vertical windows on the first floor, check
Mixed facade materials at perfect intervals, check
plaza style entry, check
Vertical signs at the corner, check
top floor banded, check
second floor should have banded too, hmmm...
reachover roof to envelope the space, check

okay, we're done here!

but why does it feel so cold and unwelcoming as a pedestrian - because it's fake and there isn't a true mix, it's over planned, over designed... e.g. Seaport in Boston
 

ChairmanMeow

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but why does it feel so cold and unwelcoming as a pedestrian - because it's fake and there isn't a true mix, it's over planned, over designed... e.g. Seaport in Boston
I think that the materials chosen often don't help with this.

Historically, styles tend to get a sort of 'official' name well AFTER they are introduced and perhaps faded from the cutting edge of fashion. In their time they are just referred to buildings today (unless they are very histrionically referential)..
Usually this is the case here in the US (McMansion being the one exception I can think of offhand), and I think that's why it stuck with me that people were using a name for it at all.
FWIW I tend to refer to them as TOD-style apartments and people (even non-planners) seem to know what I mean.
 

Dan

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I ran across an article a while back that talked about what to call the style that's usually seen in TOD apartments, and I cannot to seem to find the piece, or remember the style names.
I've heard the term "fast casual", as in the types of restaurants their inhabitants love.
 

Dan

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If you think about it, the "fast casual" style is something that's easy to copy and paste throughout the country. It even has all the elements that make it work in communities with strict architectural standards -- different cladding materials on the facade, change in cladding at inside corners, facade articulation, upper floor stepbacks, equipment and service area screening, high transparency/glazing, and four-sided design.

The reason why I think fast casual architecture has such a bad reputation isn't because of the way it looks, but what some people feel it represents -- gentrification, the increased presence of "basic" middle/upper middle class white people, consumer culture, etcetera, It's much like how some now see bike lanes, dog parks, community gardens, and fences with horizontal slats in a negative light. 20 years ago, or in a different political climate, people would be seeing fast casual architecture much differently.
 

ChairmanMeow

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The reason why I think fast casual architecture has such a bad reputation isn't because of the way it looks, but what some people feel it represents -- gentrification, the increased presence of "basic" middle/upper middle class white people, consumer culture, etcetera, It's much like how some now see bike lanes, dog parks, community gardens, and fences with horizontal slats in a negative light. 20 years ago, or in a different political climate, people would be seeing fast casual architecture much differently.
Agreed. It's not a bad thing if those apartments are affordable housing or etc. but most people see it as something more specific. Almost like it has a branding problem.
 

WSU MUP Student

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I've heard the term "fast casual", as in the types of restaurants their inhabitants love.
That type of apartment architecture has been popping up more frequently here in Metro Detroit over the past few years (see Midtown Detroit or much of downtown Royal Oak) and I've always referred to it as faux-industrial, primarily because the shape and materials remind me of an old industrial warehouse, but I really like Dan's "fast casual" moniker for them as I almost always expect them to have a Qdoba or a Smashburger or Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the lower level.
 
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Dan

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... but I really like Dan's "fast casual" moniker for them as I almost always expect them to have a Qdoba or a Smashburger or Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the lower level.
Fast Casual architecture is just starting to make its way to Buffalo. It doesn't have many fans, mainly because the urbanist crowd there is still enamored with a "compatible" neotraditional interwar look.

Whenever I've seen Fast Casual mixed use buildings in other cities, the ground floor storefronts are usually occupied by:
  • Starbucks.
  • Chipotle or Qdoba.
  • A fast casual restaurant targeting the yoga mom crowd, like CoreLife Eatery.
  • Jimmy John's, Which Wich, or a local/regional "artisanal" sub chain.
  • A day spa with a trendy one word all-lowercase name, like "flow" or "revive".
  • A yoga studio, barre studio, or OrangeThreory Fitness.
  • A "curated" wine store.
  • A local fusion restaurant with the polished look and feel of a chain, where the quietest table has an ambient sound level of 85 db(A).
However much you think the rent is for the apartments, it'll actually be more. The rent it would have in San Francisco will be the rent it has everywhere.

"Oh, a one bedroom there has to be, like, $2,500 a month. (snort)"
looks at the Web site
"$3,770 a month? Seriously? This is [Harrisburg | Fort Wayne | Akron | Greeley | Amarillo], for cryin' out loud!"
 

DVD

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Fast Casual architecture is just starting to make its way to Buffalo. It doesn't have many fans, mainly because the urbanist crowd there is still enamored with a "compatible" neotraditional interwar look.

Whenever I've seen Fast Casual mixed use buildings in other cities, the ground floor storefronts are usually occupied by:
  • Starbucks.
  • Chipotle or Qdoba.
  • A fast casual restaurant targeting the yoga mom crowd, like CoreLife Eatery.
  • Jimmy John's, Which Wich, or a local/regional "artisanal" sub chain.
  • A day spa with a trendy one word all-lowercase name, like "flow" or "revive".
  • A yoga studio, barre studio, or OrangeThreory Fitness.
  • A "curated" wine store.
  • A local fusion restaurant with the polished look and feel of a chain, where the quietest table has an ambient sound level of 85 db(A).
However much you think the rent is for the apartments, it'll actually be more. The rent it would have in San Francisco will be the rent it has everywhere.

"Oh, a one bedroom there has to be, like, $2,500 a month. (snort)"
looks at the Web site
"$3,770 a month? Seriously? This is [Harrisburg | Fort Wayne | Akron | Greeley | Amarillo], for cryin' out loud!"
How dare you exactly identify nearly all development in my area. I mean just drop your google street guy anywhere on the map and find exactly what you're talking about.
 

ChairmanMeow

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Fast Casual architecture is just starting to make its way to Buffalo. It doesn't have many fans, mainly because the urbanist crowd there is still enamored with a "compatible" neotraditional interwar look.

Whenever I've seen Fast Casual mixed use buildings in other cities, the ground floor storefronts are usually occupied by:

  • A yoga studio, barre studio, or OrangeThreory Fitness.
  • A local fusion restaurant with the polished look and feel of a chain, where the quietest table has an ambient sound level of 85 db(A).
Pretty sure I ate at some of those in Cameron Village in Raleigh this past weekend, which is notable only because it was created in the late 1940's.
Also you missed Pilates.
 

luckless pedestrian

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Fast Casual architecture is just starting to make its way to Buffalo. It doesn't have many fans, mainly because the urbanist crowd there is still enamored with a "compatible" neotraditional interwar look.

Whenever I've seen Fast Casual mixed use buildings in other cities, the ground floor storefronts are usually occupied by:
  • Starbucks.
  • Chipotle or Qdoba.
  • A fast casual restaurant targeting the yoga mom crowd, like CoreLife Eatery.
  • Jimmy John's, Which Wich, or a local/regional "artisanal" sub chain.
  • A day spa with a trendy one word all-lowercase name, like "flow" or "revive".
  • A yoga studio, barre studio, or OrangeThreory Fitness.
  • A "curated" wine store.
  • A local fusion restaurant with the polished look and feel of a chain, where the quietest table has an ambient sound level of 85 db(A).
However much you think the rent is for the apartments, it'll actually be more. The rent it would have in San Francisco will be the rent it has everywhere.

"Oh, a one bedroom there has to be, like, $2,500 a month. (snort)"
looks at the Web site
"$3,770 a month? Seriously? This is [Harrisburg | Fort Wayne | Akron | Greeley | Amarillo], for cryin' out loud!"

nailed it - you win a case of Rice-a-Roni for that answer - that was awesome, you can go home now
 

Luca

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I guess that, as always, if we compare contemporary urban-ish architecture to whatever ideal we fondly caress in the recesses of our imagination, it falls FAR short.
Equally, if we compare it to the sort of things that were actually built, especially in the US, in recent decades... not so much.
 

mendelman

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faux-lonial

Love it. That's a new one for me and shall forever be welcome in my personal lexicon.
 

Faust_Motel

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Google says I didn't make it up, but It appears mostly to be used to describe bad interior decorating ideas on Pinterest. I'll happily claim my use of it to describe crappy apartment complex buildings with fake vinyl shutters (because why?) and pitched roofs, especially when those make design review boards happy an an alternative to (gasp) flat roofs, which terrify them.
 

mendelman

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I'll happily claim my use of it to describe crappy apartment complex buildings with fake vinyl shutters (because why?) and pitched roofs...
Some apartment developer sometime in the last century thought, Huh? What if I took a production SF house design and inflated it 10,000%?
 

Faust_Motel

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Gut check - Remember that Walmart site plan you reviewed 15 years ago?

All of these faux-lonial uptown special fast casual pomopedpods sure beats the seas of parkings we reviewed back in 2004.

Yeah, and anything somebody can, y'know, live in, that isn't a 600k 4BR on half an acre where I work is a step up in the residential world. Not to mention our faux-lonials are walkable to a grocery store being built in the same project.
 

mendelman

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I had a feeling it was going to be Harrison. I have friends near there and it's like each time I drive thru there another building has spring up.
Greater Metro NYC housing pressure.

It's fascinating that just 15 years ago, Newark, NJ was generally perceived as a no go place.
 

ChairmanMeow

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Greater Metro NYC housing pressure.

It's fascinating that just 15 years ago, Newark, NJ was generally perceived as a no go place.
Indeed. One of my grad school studios was in Newark (in 2011) and it's changed so much even since then.
 

kjel

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Greater Metro NYC housing pressure.

It's fascinating that just 15 years ago, Newark, NJ was generally perceived as a no go place.
Indeed. One of my grad school studios was in Newark (in 2011) and it's changed so much even since then.
I started working in Newark in 2011 and then bought a house there in 2014. Some of its reputation is deserved, much of it is not. The South Ward is where most of the nonsense happens, but there are areas that are perfectly fine. It's not middle class suburbia by any stretch but I've not had any issues living or working there in the past 8 years. Most of the new development is happening in the Central Ward which is the downtown area and I am just north of it.
 

kjel

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Something looks weird about that Westin. I don't know if it's just the angle that the streetview photos were taken, but it looks like the windows are just painted on.
There are actual windows which are rectangular, but there is black and gray paint around them to make them look 3D. What's worse is that there are some windows that are boxed out and project outward from the building. It's goofy up close.
 

B'lieve

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This "fast-casual" stuff was everywhere when I went to Austin last year. Agree that it looks corporate faux-authentic, but like Wannaplan? said, it's better than more sprawl. And the backlash might spur, here and there, more construction of better-looking, more-solid buildings like the one Mendelman helped get through :)up:).

Here in Baltimore I've seen this sort of thing pop up in the Gold-Coast waterfront neighborhoods like Canton--on former industrial land, mainly--and in some of the more upscale suburbs, like just north and west of the mall in Towson. Some commercial and office buildings, like some of the biotech-lab/office buildings of the Johns Hopkins Hospital expansion, have elements of that look, too. But it's just one of several styles going up, not the overwhelmingly dominant omnistyle i saw in Austin.

And just to circle back to the original post, this is the style of the TOD apartments around the Owings Mills Metro station. And I hear there are plans in the works for more TOD around other transit stations around here.
 
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MacheteJames

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I always felt as though the development team for these sort of projects must have a macro that just spits out a ready-to-go site plan and renderings at the click of a button. My mental shortcut has always been to just refer to these as "Avalon" projects. Anyone working in the northeast should get the reference.
 

luckless pedestrian

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I always felt as though the development team for these sort of projects must have a macro that just spits out a ready-to-go site plan and renderings at the click of a button. My mental shortcut has always been to just refer to these as "Avalon" projects. Anyone working in the northeast should get the reference.
yes - instant recognition
 

dw914er

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There are actual windows which are rectangular, but there is black and gray paint around them to make them look 3D. What's worse is that there are some windows that are boxed out and project outward from the building. It's goofy up close.
That painted effect to create a sense of articulation is terrible. I wonder how that was greenlit to become a part of the design?
 

kjel

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That painted effect to create a sense of articulation is terrible. I wonder how that was greenlit to become a part of the design?
Who knows. I am sure the town was happy something was being built there.
 
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