spenser1058

Who Wants a Supertall Skyline? The Emerging Aesthetic of the 1,000-Foot Tower

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A brief confection from Justin Davidson at New York. What I found interesting was the assumption of the basics, not unlike that of a large tree:

 

"high-ceilinged shops on the bottom, in the middle a warren of offices repeating as many times as necessary, topped by a windowless attic."

 

The author considers that so primary from a Sullivanesque perspective, but yet here we are struggling to attract retail to our buildings. Even as he ponders the things that haven't changed in going vertical over the last 100 years, that most basic component is now proving to be a struggle for buildings from Manhattan to O-town.

 

 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/12/emerging-aesthetic-of-the-1000-foot-tower.html

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I've been living in Europe for years, and I travel a lot around the British Isles and the continent. I love paying attention to the details in every city I visit, from where the original Roman fortification walls were built to the layers of civilisation piled on into the present day. In my travels, I have yet to see a fine example of how a high-rise building enhances the urban experience. Canary Wharf and La Défense are soulless dead zones, and the City of London is racing to join them.

I know it's an urban planning cliche to cite European cities as models for the future for American cities, but our cultural ancestors been at it for much longer, through much more transformative events. We certainly have a lot of catching up to do in terms of making cities places of people, not phallic symbols for ego-stroking.

Edited by jliv

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^^ I totally agree with this.  I'm an Orlando fan (born and raised) and I think basically it's moving in the right direction.  The projects that really catch my eye are the ones encourage the people aspect of an area.  Growth is happening, like it or not, but it doesn't have to be cold.  My favorite proposed project right now is the Yard, then the 420 520 cluster in S. Eola.  I think Citi tower is cold and boring, and now its neighbor at 350 Pine with a lot of reflective glass even more so.

 

I was reading something about the retail and restaurant(s) to be incorporated into The Yard,  It refers to them as "cast" members, meaning that the developer plans to screen them to ensure fit with the culture of Ivanhoe Village.  It looks good on paper.

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^^ I totally agree with this.  I'm an Orlando fan (born and raised) and I think basically it's moving in the right direction.  The projects that really catch my eye are the ones encourage the people aspect of an area.  Growth is happening, like it or not, but it doesn't have to be cold.  My favorite proposed project right now is the Yard, then the 420 520 cluster in S. Eola.  I think Citi tower is cold and boring, and now its neighbor at 350 Pine with a lot of reflective glass even more so.

 

I was reading something about the retail and restaurant(s) to be incorporated into The Yard,  It refers to them as "cast" members, meaning that the developer plans to screen them to ensure fit with the culture of Ivanhoe Village.  It looks good on paper.

 

I'm also a native of Orlando, so a lot of my experience with cities is colored with growing up in the midst of the torrential growth the metro area experienced after WDW opened (most of it, not so good).  I come home to visit 1-2x/year; the last time I visited I stayed downtown without a rental car, relying on Uber to get around.  I did a lot of walking (and eating), and it was nice to be reminded of what a pretty and clean city Orlando is.  As much as the city gets tarnished with the theme park tourism industry, it is a uniquely attractive city with an aesthetic places like Charlotte, Nashville, or Austin cannot reproduce. There is still a lot of potential to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods; my concern is that out-of-town developers who care little for the urban fabric are dropping pre-fab designs used in Atlanta and Miami that aren't appropriate for the area.

Edited by jliv
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I'm also a native of Orlando, so a lot of my experience with cities is colored with growing up in the midst of the torrential growth the metro area experienced after WDW opened (most of it, not so good).  I come home to visit 1-2x/year; the last time I visited I stayed downtown without a rental car, relying on Uber to get around.  I did a lot of walking (and eating), and it was nice to be reminded of what a pretty and clean city Orlando is.  As much as the city gets tarnished with the theme park tourism industry, it is a uniquely attractive city with an aesthetic places like Charlotte, Nashville, or Austin cannot reproduce. There is still a lot of potential to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods; my concern is that out-of-town developers who care little for the urban fabric are dropping pre-fab designs used in Atlanta and Miami that aren't appropriate for the area.

 

This is true (regarding "out of town developers).  This happens to most cities where developers see potential for ROI.  Like Miami Beach (which sees plenty of international investment), Orlando must become strict to enforce building principles that define the unique character of Orlando so that we wont end up looking like the next Charlotte or Nashville. 

 

I don't want to speak too soon, but I will say that Crescent Central Station is turning out to look like "downtown anywhere USA".  This is a shame, given it's location, visibility, and potential.  Hopefully, the devil is in the details and it will still become an overall asset.

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I'm not sure about 1,000 footer but I would definitely like to have at least one building over 500ft, one building of architectural significance that could serve as an icon of Downtown Orlando, preferably something that helps to further distinguish the City from the Mouse and the theme park area.

I like and largely approve of all the vertical development going around in Downtown, but I'm not too keen on us becoming Manhattanized like our neighbors down in Miami. I would like to see at least the empty parts of the CBD portion of Downtown to be entirely infilled, preferably with 4-6 floor developments, but not in the form of large, tacky apartment buildings that have plagued this entire metro region. Pointing to European examples may sound cliche, but it's an urban model that works around the world - 4-6 story development, a mostly pedestrian-only network of narrow streets, mass transit, and plenty of park spaces and plazas. I've read a lot of the Traditional City archive by Nathan Lewis on his New World Economics website, he brings up some good points about city-building.

But I agree, this city should do more to enforce that new developments fit into the historical context and character of Orlando architecture. One of my biggest concerns for Orlando is having too many arbitrary, bland apartment/condo buildings that would threaten the identity the city is trying to create in the shadow of Disney. We could through add more skyscrapers to the skyline, but what's the point if they are copy-paste buildings from other cities?

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Well,I led the petition to approve the Skyplex proposal which was...sought to be 700 feet but I was hoping it maintained its look as a "building" or architectural monument and not just a really tall rollercoaster. It was approved 1700 signatures v. 150 signatures, who thought the taller the better. The FAA has cleared 700 feet for I-drive, (Though the county has a problem with it), I'm mixed, Joshua Wallack had to talk it down to 500 feet, but if it's just the tallest rollercoaster in Orlando...it can become unsavory, and attract crime, and congestion and look very tacky. Now a 600+ foot rollercoaster that has an impressive architectural element, won't appear tacky, and the other elements of the park are good. Now my fear is...that now that near 700 foot buildings COULD be built on I-drive, 30 years from now...which Downtown will be most prominent? Or will the region become accepting of say 450 foot maximum from Lake Ivanhoe, to John Young or I-drive, and near 700 on I-drive? I don't want I drive to become basically...the dominant downtown and Downtown become, a secondary downtown to visitors and locals. I-drive will start developing Condos, and a nightlife so. I support a limit in height, idk if 450 foot is good, as it could adversely economically harm Orlando. (Say a regional bank headquarters wants to move somewhere, if Orlando says 441' is your maximum, and Tampa says go for 600 if you need...guess who's likely to get several thousand more jobs and hundreds of residence. I don't think height and European-esque density are mutually exclusive. Downtown should mantain a strict architectural code, that demands, warm, Mediterranean, or post-modern developments...it would be good. 600 feet would be perfect, allowing regional headquarters, and not having I-drive challenging Downtown as far as being the "city center" and allow corporate headquarters, perhaps a 350 foot limit south of the East-west down to I-drive north. It's a hard issue, but I'm also concerned about sprawl and the environmental effects it could have. So much of I-drive has been sprawled out, it's gobbling up the last tract of what is technically considered the northern headwaters of the Everglades, so vertical density, I hope becomes a much more promoted development policy in Downtown and SoDo and I-drive. The Skyplex project if completed will have a major impact on Orlandos skyline. It seems it will be 600 feet from what I understand (idk if that includes to pillar) so, that will be...challenging but may break Orlandos fear of height. European cities are great however their also limited in capability of population increases due to the lack of height. In London taller buildings are being proposed as a result, so the smartest move is to promote high rises under 600 feet with strict architectural appeal, uniqueness and improves ground level impact, but don't cut yourself to only being in favor or mid or tiny high rises as downtown quickly many decades from now may not be the first thing that catches the eyes of many if I-drive out glitters it. So...it's a fine line, Orlando has to mantain. Not 1,000 foot super tall cold buildings...but not defeatist fear of height, resulting in possible economic losses and dominance of other areas of Orlando over downtown eventually.

major 

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That's not how it works. I-Drive is I-Drive.  It is tourist driven and will do anything to draw visitors.  Downtown is downtown.  It is business and living driven and will draw workers.  No need for fears. Sure, the skylines may look weird with multiple focal points, but lots of cities have that with different districts and local density aggregation.  See Atlanta, Miami, and even NYC.  I do not think this is a problem.  I welcome taller development on I-drive for attractions, especially if the "world's tallest rollercoaster" was approved.  Brings more dollars and exposure to our great city. However, DT will not lose out to the major corporate projects.  Yes, height may not be available but that is not economically harming Orlando.  There are lots of available properties DT with enough space for any headquarters or large office complex to be built regardless of building height.  It is more of a market thing than a building code and height restriction thing.  There just isn't a market to build that tall here yet.

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Outside of the FAA restrictions, I don't see why we should really want height restrictions on either. If someone builds tall, others likely will want to build tall so it will end up blending in. As it is, there isn't demand to build tall downtown, and there is not likely to be anyone proposing a 1000 ft building in either spot... the land just isn't valuable enough for it to make any sort of financial sense. Obviously our easiest comparison is to Vegas, and the strip, obviously separate from downtown, has its own set of high rises and a different crowd from their downtown. It works there and there is no reason it can't or won't work here. While Orlando dominates on the family friendly entertainment, we have nothing that compares to the strip, and while we are of course unlikely to see anything like it (without the state and county changing their views on gambling), its not bad for us to get as close as we can to it and create a different atmosphere then the theme parks Orlando is famous for. The existing I-Drive attractions will still be around for a long time to come regardless of the tall buildings that get built and might replace a few things (nothing proposed is knocking down anything with any popularity without replacing it)

I don't know the specifics on the Skyplex approval, but typically everyone asks for more on the approval then they need or want so that way there is room to compromise. I could be wrong, but I doubt Skyplex planned to go above the 600 ft they got approval for, and mentioning 700 ft was a way to say "hey, we're compromising" without giving up the real goal... being the tallest roller coaster in the world (when built at least). I hope we hear an update on it soon (and Starflyer, which is supposed to be at least a few feet taller then the Orlando Eye). Both projects were claiming to be ready to open by end of 2017 and have gone mostly silent.

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