Sullivan's spectacular masterpiece Guarantee Building

steel

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#1
Moderator note:
(Was: "I also found THIS on a Buffalo sidewalk".) Come on folks, use descriptive titles, PLEASE. We do not want to have to start closing good threads.




Sullivan's spectacular masterpiece Guarantee Building in Buffalo. It must be seen to be believed.
















 

Luca

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#2
Oh no! It is ornate! How un-Koolhaas! ;)

The second to last picture, which shows the aesthatically debased context it is now stuck in is depressing.
 

thestip

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#3
This is a spectacular building. I had the pleasure of working in it for 3 months, until the souless health insurance company I work for moved out to the suburbs and into a 1950's suburban high school. Ugh! It killed me. My commute was all of 7 minutes from my garage to the Main Place Mall garage. And let me tell you, Williamsville has absolutely no good choice of restaurants, like those I could get to by just walking out of that beautiful building and walking a block or less. The lobby is spectacularly ornate. And, the 13th floor is unique with it's round windows. Oh, how I hate the company I work for, for moving!:-@ :-@
 
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#5
Personally, I enjoyed the first thread title better. What's wrong with a little ambiguity? Makes you curious to see what Steel's talking about.
 
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#6
The ornament is wonderful, you could probably stare at that building - both inside and out - for hours. Louis Sullivan is one of my favorite architects. I was recently in the Auditorium in Chicago, and it was truly amazing.
 

Mee

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#8
It looks nice, though. I personally don't like it. I think it's too elaborated.:cool:
I like something simple.
 

BKM

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#9
thestip said:
This is a spectacular building. I had the pleasure of working in it for 3 months, until the souless health insurance company I work for moved out to the suburbs and into a 1950's suburban high school. Ugh! It killed me. My commute was all of 7 minutes from my garage to the Main Place Mall garage. And let me tell you, Williamsville has absolutely no good choice of restaurants, like those I could get to by just walking out of that beautiful building and walking a block or less. The lobby is spectacularly ornate. And, the 13th floor is unique with it's round windows. Oh, how I hate the company I work for, for moving!:-@ :-@
Off-topic:
I've never understood the appeal of the "office park." What an absolutely dreadful, sanitized, vapid, boring environment to work in. Nothing nearby except vapid lawns, useless water features, and endless pods of parking. Where I work is a suburban "civic center" but at least it's one block away from our traditional "Main Street" setting.

My sister's former employer moved from a small office in downtown Mountain View, CA, a classic main street environment with an amzing range of Asian and other restaurants to an utterly boring office park in "Redwood Shores. Boy, those miles of perfectly paved streets with ideal "graphic communications programs" and useless open space (along with the irrigated landscaping and stupid canals) were amazingly bad. THIS is the centerpiece of American creativity and engineering design. Is it any wonder American technology is declining. Oh well, the Chinese are rapidly copying all the worst elements of American suburban practice. LOL!


Thread hijack finished. Lovely, lovely building. But, it is the location that's important.
 
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#12
I currently work in this building, and love it. What those pictures dont show is the cathedral across the street that is decorated with many tiffany stained glass windows and is also a national landmark. This building truely is a gem.
 

Mee

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#13
Don't be too serious.

Luca said:
Why, exactly?
It's just my personal preference as I mentioned above that I like something simple. I kinda like modern style. Actually,this building is very nice and well decorated. :)
 

Luca

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#14
Mee said:
It's just my personal preference as I mentioned above that I like something simple. I kinda like modern style. Actually,this building is very nice and well decorated. :)
I'm asking because I am interested in understanding the REASON why your personal preference veers toward a less ornate, perhaps spare (?) style. What is it about ti that you like? Have you contemplated the causality of that preference? Imagine it's a 5-year old asking you 'why?'
 

steel

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#15
I like all styles of archietcture when they are executed with quality. I love minimal contemporary design. I do not like fakey phony historicy design. Anything that we build doday should speak of our era not pretend to be 100 years old.
 

BKM

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#16
steel said:
I like all styles of archietcture when they are executed with quality. I love minimal contemporary design. I do not like fakey phony historicy design. Anything that we build doday should speak of our era not pretend to be 100 years old.
I agree with you about phony/fakey historicist design.

But, why does a tortured steel blob that squats in its block in a windowless mass, deadening the entire block around it speak "of our time." Because architects would arguie, quite often, that this avant garde, computer-generated "stuff" is the only architecture truly "of our time." My question is: who determines what is "of our time"? Intellectuals whose buildings consistently fail and leak and are miserable for their occupants (Peter Eisenman)?

Don't get me wrong-I like good modernist minimalism myself. Just want to see this architecture behave-and the avant garde believe we should ignore basic rules of decorum.
 

steel

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#17
My post did have the qualifier word "quality" in it. Quality means that it meets the highest standards of design and construction. If a building meets these standards it will take into account human and urban interatcion as well as the prevention of leaks. That is not to say that great architecture will not fail on some of these features. Architecture is a very complex art and it is nearly impossible to get it right these days.

So many factors fight against good architecture. It takes money site client engineering craft and many other factors comming together at just the right time and way to produce even good buildings not to mention great buildings.

This one is a great building but even then it came close to being demolished. It is ironic that it is so heavily decorated since this building set the corurse for the modern high rise with is powerful vertical lines. It took a lot of dedication from many people to save it. It was renovated in the 80's after having fallen into a desparate state. Its light well was filled in to allow for more modern floor plates and many fire upgrades were done to bring it up to modern safety standards.

Today it is owned by and inhabitted by a large respected Buffalo law firm.
 

BKM

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#19
steel said:
My post did have the qualifier word "quality" in it. Quality means that it meets the highest standards of design and construction. If a building meets these standards it will take into account human and urban interatcion as well as the prevention of leaks. That is not to say that great architecture will not fail on some of these features. Architecture is a very complex art and it is nearly impossible to get it right these days.

So many factors fight against good architecture. It takes money site client engineering craft and many other factors comming together at just the right time and way to produce even good buildings not to mention great buildings.

This one is a great building but even then it came close to being demolished. It is ironic that it is so heavily decorated since this building set the corurse for the modern high rise with is powerful vertical lines. It took a lot of dedication from many people to save it. It was renovated in the 80's after having fallen into a desparate state. Its light well was filled in to allow for more modern floor plates and many fire upgrades were done to bring it up to modern safety standards.

Today it is owned by and inhabitted by a large respected Buffalo law firm.
Again, though, most architects and arbitrers of culture would argue that the Moneo Cathderal in Los Angeles, or the Gehry music center, or the Koolhaas library are all "high quality" and uniquely reflect the current cultural "zeitgeist." They were cretainly high profile, high energy, high cost designs for major civic institutions. Did they provide a building that contributes very much to pedestrian friendliness, a human scale environment, much life to the surrounding cityscape? Many would answer that "no."

If "the now" celebrates monumental, anti-urban, some even say anti-human buildings, then insisting that the buildings we erect today be "of our time" needs to be pretty heavily qualified-often using standards and principles of architectural design that are in fact "old fashioned" and "regressive" to the practitioners of THE NOW. Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York, was a perfect reflection of it's "Now." Is is as good an urbanism as the grimy, aging, decorated Victorian and Art Deco architecture that surrounds it in downtown Albany? Cultures and art forms can lose their way, and I say this as a secular agnostic, so I'm not speaking as a religious person, even.
 

steel

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#20
There is no denying that our architects and planners are poorly schooled in the nature of human urban interaction, and that we are easily wowed by flashy architects. I have not had enough contact with the buildings you are talking about but,

I can say that those same buildings clad in fakey historic dodahs and forms will not be turned into good urban buildings. I do know that phony historic crap is often foisted on an unsuspecting public as as solution for a building to "blend in" ,as if blending in is a sign of good archietcure.

There are many good contemporary (as opposed to modern) buildings which highlight the urban scene and provide great complements to their true historic neighbors while expressing the nature of our society and technology today as opposed to 100 years ago.
 
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