02 July 2008

Crapitecture on High


If you're a skinflint developer, you can express your cheapness in many ways.

Here are three brick buildings on Hicks Street near Kane. The two on either side are plain old tenements that have stood there for 100-years plus. The one in the middle has been brushed up and converted into condos. Notice the new windows and repointed bricks and the absence of an unsightly metal fire-escape. Also notice the absolutely substandard, stubby, cheap-ass cornice.

I guess I should be grateful the developer put on a new cornice at all. But I'm not. It's just so lousy. It's looks like a large Lego piece that was snapped into place. I'm guessing it's one of those inexpensive fiberglass jobbies they've got these days. Look at the shadows it casts on the building! It doesn't even sit flush with the brickface. And it's smaller than the cornices on either side because, God forbid you spend more money than you have to on the amount of fiberglass used. I wouldn't put it on a doghouse.

Oh, and the lintels and windows suck, too. There, I'm done.

6 comments:

J$ said...

i think you're getting nitpicky with this one. i don't see any fedders or home depot balconies.

and does that one on the left have a small bathroom window facing the street? that's very unusual.

Anonymous said...

I dont think it looks too bad.

And as one who has looked to replace a cornice, that cheap fiberglass ones of this size run 25-35k

lalaland said...

Well, when dirt-cheap skilled italian and irish craftsmen return to our shores by the millions, I'm sure developers will make the effort to match neighboring buildings.....until then, enjoy the crapitude (and it's only going to get worse, friend...at least they aren't modular yet).

Brooks of Sheffield said...

A bit nickpicky, perhaps. But if I was the architect or the owner, I'd look at that and say, "Nah, it just looks bad." The ugly air conditioners will come when people move in. What are "Home Depot balconies"?

KND said...

There's nothing wrong with the design of this cornice. Notice that the shadow line is straight, rather than wavy and irregular, indicating that it was designed to project out, rather than taper down towards the brick. I think the reason, design-wise, it doesn't taper down towards the face of brick, is there is a very nice soldier course directly beneath it. I therefore suspect that the original cornice was similar in profile to this one, and that this was a design feature and not a cost-cutting measure. It probably never had the same cornice as the adjacent buildings because, as you'll notice upon closer inspection, the windows are higher up on the facade, indicating that the entire building, inside and out, was probably of a different design. Perhaps the return (surface facing down where it goes back to the brick, creating the shadow) has a nice detail on it that is not visible from this angle? Anyways, my point is that if you're going to nitpick, please look a little more closely! This kind of commentary is not very helpful to us architects. It's like we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. I understand the underlying resentment towards condo-conversion and gentrification, but why lash out at a decent facade restoration? Oh, and there's nothing wrong with or inconsistent about the lintels.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I'm sorry KND, but you don't think it looks cheap? Skimpy? Not as good as it could be? You think there's nothing wrong? Let me ask you something. What do you think about the windows? Are they OK, too?