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About andrew.w

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  • Birthday 08/31/1987

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    Architecture, Historic Preservation, Adaptive Reuse, Modular Construction, Urban Design, Suburban Revitalization
  1. andrew.w

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    ^That's maybe not completely surprising. I know many of the new high rise apartment buildings in Chicago (which granted may also be due to their high rents) typically take over a year to be fully rented. I think only a portion of potential tenants will sign leases before a building is completed since move-in dates can be somewhat in flux and people would prefer to see the exact space they are renting and finished before committing to a lease. The fact that they are still working around the outside may also be a deterrent to other potential residents. We would be better judging the success of this development at the end of the year.
  2. andrew.w

    MSU Biomedical Research Campus - Phase II

    At least in that case the bunker wall is facing the expressway where it's a little more justified.
  3. andrew.w

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    Actually the flush hollow core door and oak trim and cabinet aesthetic (at least in the stain color we see here) is more of a late 80s early 90s look. They've modernized it a little with the shaker cabinet and tall base boards. I kind of think this had to have been a conscious decision on someone's part because the standard today of white painted HDF trim and 6 panel composite doors would have been less expensive. But as we've seen for this entire project, the Castle is the masterwork of someone who has anything but mainstream tastes. And the grade of carpet that goes into rentals is much cheaper option than any other floor finish. And if a tenant destroys it, it's much easier to replace than any other floor. Plus it helps reduce noise transfer between units.
  4. andrew.w

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    Oh I get that the surrounding area may not have any sidewalks, that's a separate issue, and another reason why you would never see me living in an area like that (I have to get in my car to walk my dog?). But it seems like at home, someone should be able to at least go outside without having to walk through the parking garage. In the site plans for this project there are townhouses surrounding it on all sides built in later phases. So if any of those people have friends in the castle there is no nice way for them to walk over there?
  5. andrew.w

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    It's certainly an interesting project to look at, but the developer seems to have been caught up more with form-making and the outward appearance from afar, and doesn't have much experience making spaces that are actually comfortable to live within. I'd be particularly bothered by how small the windows are in all of the units. Each bedroom comes with what looks like one 30"x60" window and each dining room-living room-kitchen space get just 2 of those windows. Even on the corner units one of the bedrooms is put in the corner so the living areas still get less than 25 sf access to natural light. I also hope the grounds are going to get more landscaping, because that courtyard looks more like a prison yard right now. The terrace units aren't going to be very appealing if they open out onto a massive concrete expanse. The one's on the outside of the building look like they open right onto the top of the parking deck. Even the most basic of suburban apartment complexes usually have a landscape buffer between the parking lot and the units. Also, as someone pointed out a while back: how does one get into this building by foot? I see sidewalks surrounding the building the the flyover and a few pedestrian entrances into the sides of the parking deck, but where one would expect the main building entrance is in that sea of asphalt roundabout between the parking entrances. If that is the main entrance it seems like it would be perilous to try to walk there.
  6. andrew.w

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    ^^Real double hung windows tend to be rare in hotel and office buildings in the recent past because quite frankly the building owners don't want the users opening the windows at worst so they don't fall out of them and also for a range of reasons such as security and damage to interior finishes when nobody closes them and the way that open windows can mess with the building's climate control systems.
  7. andrew.w

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    I have a hard time believing the windows are a cost issue. They picked undivided reflective glass because they wanted to, because this sort of modern insertion in historic carcasses is on trend right now. Doing a simulated double hung, which adds one extra horizontal mullion and putting the glass in two different panes cannot cost that much more that it blows the whole project. Just as I said earlier that for the expense that they are already putting into these facades they could replace the CMU with brick and do simple arches for an extremely small change order compared to the total project budget. The missing rusticated sandstone arches would be more costly to replicate, but they could probably figure out something, even if it meant removing the last remaining one and doing them in brick.
  8. andrew.w

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    I think a reasonable brick match is that outlandish. We get reasonably close with our historic projects all the time. Bricks are still manufactured in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. Missing stonework can be a different issue depending on what is being made. Missing limestone window sills isn't that big of a deal on the Monroe side. For split faced or ornamental pieces I have seen cast stone (concrete) pieces used instead reasonably effectively. For anyone doubting what is possible, take a look at the restoration of the Scott Mansion facade in Detroit: I would personally prefer that since these buildings aren't painted, they not be painted (at least on the street facing sides). The brick will be much healthier that way, a little patina doesn't hurt.
  9. andrew.w

    New Meijer "Bridge Street Market" on the West Side

    Based on what I am seeing in the photos, I'm pretty sure that they are building the bottom/second version. As was said up above, what is happening is not necessarily a seback in the building structure, but rather a thinner facade material on the top floor with the thicker brick cladding below.
  10. andrew.w

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    I think that has a lot to do with the strong horizontal emphasis of the contemporary cladding versus the mostly vertical emphasis of the historic facades. Plus combining the three together made for a wide squat building rather than the three individuals, which are each taller than they are wide on their principle facades. As someone who doesn't get to see these everyday, I'm always curious to check in on here and see how they are progressing.
  11. andrew.w

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    My guess is that the arched windows were too short for the rectangular windows they wanted to make on that floor. Thus it was easier to rebuild the entire top of the wall rather than try to re-support the window heads and parapet while they removed the arches. Alternatively, the top of the wall could have been in really poor shape and needed to be rebuilt. Building parapets are especially subject to deterioration from water and wind.
  12. andrew.w

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    ^Chances are by this point what you see is what you are going to get. Although with this project they seem to be making decisions mod-construction so maybe we shouldn't discout that yet. Putting rectangular windows behind rounded openings has been done even historically. Even in the late 19th and 20th century a standard double hung or casement window would eb placed behind an arched opening. The difference there would be that the piece of glass in the top sash would also be arched and the rest of the space would be infilled with wood so that the arch could be seen as continuous from the outside. While I definitely see the benefits to sticking with a rectangular window, both from the cost of the unit, cost of finishing the interior drywall, and simple functionality of being able to put blinds in the window, this trick of having the arch cheated onto the window unit could have been done here as well.
  13. andrew.w

    50 Monroe to get de-skinned?

    I haven't seen the pictures yet, but honestly if they can get a good match on the brick, and it's not like they weren't going to have to do facade repairs anyway, there wasn't historically that much detail at the top SE building. Recreating those arched windows should not be that expensive or difficult to do tastefully all things considering, and certainly nowhere near the expense of replicating the top of the NE building.
  14. andrew.w

    Redevelopment along 28th Street

    ^WMrapids, I think you are on point there. I went back and read the articles related to this project, and the first phases were the installation of the street and revamping of the zoning code to a form based code that would encourage future denser and walkable development to occur. As of last year, there were no developers on board, just the city laying the groundwork, and I don't believe that has changed yet. Either way, I don't think what is being witnessed here is in anyway a done project, but just the beginning of a larger vision.
  15. andrew.w

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    What is up with the random red stripe on the hotel? The rest of the building is playing on the cheesy theme, and then there is that trendy bent stripe on the corner that would be more befitting of a Hyatt Place or Aloft. But I guess once you start adding miniature turrets on something, it would be asking too much for things to make sense.