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  #221  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 4:58 PM
Leo Leo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RED_PDXer View Post
Basically, it's a bad design.
What prompted me to respond to this thread at all was exactly this type of comment. Just because *you* feel that everybody else’s house needs to provide a “connection to the street” does not automatically make this house a “bad design.” If the resident specifically did not want a “connection to the street,” and the house was specifically designed to address that concern, then you are using the word “bad” in sense that bears little resemblance to its common English meaning.

Personally, I find this design “bad” in many ways, but “connection to the street” is not one of them.
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  #222  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 6:15 PM
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I'm in the wait and see camp.

One picture has always struck me: that of the treeless farmland that was Eastmoreland from early last century. You would never recognize it from the mature neighborhood it is now. I would expect that, given enough time, the house under discussion would "grow" into the neighborhood.

Although (from a pedestrian's point of view) I am not a fan of the expansive wall of the first floor and the battleship gray paint scheme and the high concrete wall facing the sidewalk, and the rusted metal framing, I can appreciate how it all makes the top two floors appear to float.

I think it's the patina of age and maturity that is missing. And the softness of something organic. I'd like to see it after the plantings in front mature; after the owners move in and hang their wind chimes and trellises; after the patio furniture is trotted out; or whatever.

Show me a finished picture 3 months from now. 1 year. 5 years. But for now, all I can say is "like the top half, dislike the bottom half."
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  #223  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 6:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mmeade View Post
I try not to comment on the design of things that are under construction, as the best parts of the design tend to be added last. Seeing how much negative conversation this house has generated though, I thought that I would weigh in. There is a lot that this house does very well!



In the picture taken above....
In the picture taken above, the photographer has done as much as possible to show as little as possible of the actual house. There is not one hint of how the house interacts with the sidewalk and street. The issue isn't how the house looks at such a sharp angle that you only see a hint of it. The issue is, at least in my opinion, how it fits into the neighborhood.

Let's say you live in a house a few doors down and your son wants to know if it's ok for him to play with the kid who lives in that house. You don't know the people who live there. How intimidated are you to walk up and knock on their door to introduce yourself?

Sure, there will be people who will hate this house because it has a modern style that doesn't match the look of the other houses on the block. Eh... so what. Time marches on. But, creating a modern design does not excuse building a poor design. Everything above the first floor is fine. Maybe even great. But come on now... be honest. A gun turret instead of large, open windows? That's just ignorant design considering the neighborhood. Curtains block sight but allow light. No porch? And if they do build a porch, how weird would it be to sit on a porch backed by a gun turret?

The issue isn't the modern design. It's how the design interacts with the sidewalk and street. ...it doesn't.

If you're going to build a house that isn't part of the neighborhood, why build it in the neighborhood at all? This house would look great in the middle of a parking lot. Or behind a giant privacy fence.
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  #224  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 7:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo View Post
Just because *you* feel that everybody else’s house needs to provide a “connection to the street” does not automatically make this house a “bad design.” If the resident specifically did not want a “connection to the street,” and the house was specifically designed to address that concern...
Why didn't I think of that? Bad design for a bad neighbor. Now THAT'S a job well done! I wonder if there's even a trap door built in front of the gun turret for easy removal of the bodies.
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  #225  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 8:37 PM
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What a fascinating range of opinions. Here is a little more to chew on...
This house provides security for its occupants that few homes provide. It is far less vulnerable to drive-by shootings, random or otherwise. A burgular would take one look and pick the house next door. You may call this an unfriendly house, but I've been looking for a resurgence of the old European design of a closed lower story. I'm glad to finally see it.

The house is scaled to the neighborhood, as has been stated. It's front is well lined-up with all the other houses. I hope someone posts photos of it when complete and landscaped, because I expect some kind of cladding (stone or brick) on the concrete. I agree with everyone's positive comments and think this will be a trend-setter in the neighborhood.
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  #226  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 8:56 PM
eeldip eeldip is offline
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also, its uh... not a "house". its a side facing 3 unit. the front of each unit is not facing the street.

the grey concrete/plaster looks like the renderings of the completed structure.


http://www.williamkaven.com/
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  #227  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 9:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artist View Post
What a fascinating range of opinions. Here is a little more to chew on...
This house provides security for its occupants that few homes provide. It is far less vulnerable to drive-by shootings, random or otherwise. A burgular would take one look and pick the house next door.
I didn't know my neighborhood was so dangerous, I'll start being more cautious.
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  #228  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 10:25 PM
kvalk kvalk is offline
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Although I don't care for this project all that much, I find some of these perceptions a bit unfounded. If you actually looked deep for additional info, you'll realize that the "gun turret" is actually above the kitchen counter at the backsplash. Because of this I would assume there would be no need for curtains, which means there will most likely be more visibility out to the sidewalk than a traditional sized window with curtains that are closed all the time. The second floor also provides more glass than any other house in the neighborhood. Both of which will provide a fairly safe environment.
The picture that is being criticized also doesn't show the large expanse of glass on the south face, at the corner.
I'd argue that all these factors make just as much of a "connection to the street" as the houses on either side, with empty porches and closed shades.
Additionally, the ground floor of these units is actually closer to the street than either of the two houses next to it.
And finally, if you look at the house to the south, the neighbor is actually raising that house, and from what I heard it's only because she was so angry at this development that she wanted to block it's light as much as possible...very nice.
Perhaps it best to break perceptions based on one single view and judge things based on actual experience.
But again, i'm not really fond of the overall composition, but some of the arguments are weak.
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  #229  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 10:31 PM
eeldip eeldip is offline
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the house to the south was moved there relatively recently, i have a picture of it rolling down n skidmore.
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  #230  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 10:37 PM
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^^^ yeah, I thought that house was moved from the block slated for redevelopment at Skidmore and Interstate.
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  #231  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 10:42 PM
kvalk kvalk is offline
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eeldip,

You are correct, though I still believe my rational is correct. Mrs. Hall was attempting to do whatever should could to block the light for this new development. City records show it moving from 1426 N Prescott.
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  #232  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 12:10 AM
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well, this little triplex project sparked quite a feisty & healthy conversation hasn't it!?! We're going on 3 pages now...

I am hesitant to add anything except that after applying a Shadow/Highlight filter to New Madrid's photo, it shows there is actually quite a lot of glass on the front/side corner. When it's finished, landscaped and people living there I'm sure it will be much more humanized. Personally I'd take this project, flaws and all, over another generic faux-Craftsman any day.

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  #233  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 2:06 AM
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yeah...generic faux-midcentury is so much better
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  #234  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 2:44 AM
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I like it. They will probably do some landscaping that will soften the horizontal window treatment.
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  #235  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 4:57 AM
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My problem with it is that they CLEARLY did not design the building based on the space they had to fit it in. It looks like they designed a building based on the dimensions they had to put it in. In other words, they squished it in between two houses such that the front of the building faces the side of a house just a few feet away, and the side of the building, gun turret and all, is what faces the street. Sorry, but that's bad design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tworivers View Post
Look at the drawings on their website and compare them to the actual photos - the real photos - posted here. They present it as if the side is the front, and for good reason.

http://www.williamkaven.com/
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  #236  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 5:08 AM
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just as a point of reference I'd like to show what PATH Architecture's "Williams Five" project looks like in relationship to the street. This project was completed a few years ago and has maintained a pretty good occupancy if I remember. In many ways it's similar to the William/Kaven project. It's a multi-unit development situated perpendicularly to the street and it's only a few blocks away from the William/Kaven project, and it's situated on the other half of the Williams/Vancouver couplet. As far as I know no one has lambasted the Williams Five for lack of connection to the street, (but I'm sure someone is about to) though it could be argued that it has just as little (if not less) due to the gigantic street facing windows which are kept almost entirely curtained due to its western facing arrangement. I personally think it's an appealing building, and I admit that the fact that it is truly street level makes some difference when discussing the relationship with the street. But still, I think it's worthwhile to show it as an example of a building which received a mostly positive reaction in counterpoint to the William/Kaven building which is clearly garnering a lot of reprobation:

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  #237  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 7:04 AM
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Well, in regards to this project, I have to take back much of what I said about it...I did not realize that it was 3 units in this building, which the facade facing the street makes more sense...initially I was under the impression that it was a single occupancy house....which I am guessing others thought that as well because common thought is that it would be the living room facing the street.

With that said, I think it would of been much more pleasant on the street facade if there would of been less gray on the first floor and more wood, which would of given a much softer facade than what it currently is...but over all, it is a good design for increasing density in a low density neighborhood....though it would of been nice to see a mirrored project next to it than the house that was moved next door.
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  #238  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 1:32 PM
RED_PDXer RED_PDXer is offline
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Thanks for the link to the architect's website! It is helpful to see the plans and renderings. Very interesting that everything is shown independent of it's surroundings. It looks good in the renderings by itself and might even look good on a corner lot. It's still very much out of character with the surroundings and one could say it's because it's modern or higher density, or both, but there was an opportunity to make modern design fit in better and it was not taken. Is it me or do architects despise context?
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  #239  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 1:41 PM
RED_PDXer RED_PDXer is offline
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I've lived in several homes with kitchens facing the street. That's not a flaw in the design, because usually the living room or dining room faces the street as well, which is an opportunity to connect to the neighborhood. Of course, a front door usually helps. While thoughtfully crafted as an island, this project is little better than those 70's apartment buildings with parking in front and a solid stucco wall facing the street.
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  #240  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2009, 9:40 PM
AndrewK AndrewK is offline
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i cant look at the pic of the front of this building without thinking that i looks like some cartoon character that i cant put my finger on. huge eyes (with the division near the top of the windows looking like eyelids) and a narrow off-center slit of a mouth. damn its driving me crazy.
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