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Need for better-quality architecture in new developments downtown


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I welcome any and all development downtown.  The more people and businesses downtown, the better.

However, so many buildings downtown that are being built now (particularly apartment buildings) are inexpensive buildings whose architecture won't stand the test of time.  Think how the 1960s Greenville News building looked and the Daniel Building look: dated, not timeless.  Further, articles suggest that the boxy apartment buildings being built around the country are just "cheap stick" buildings: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-02-13/why-america-s-new-apartment-buildings-all-look-the-same

I have seen plenty of examples of new construction using timeless architecture, both ordinary and fancy, and those other timeless styles are wiser because they are time-tested.

One example: 50-55southessex.com  

It's not fancy-looking, but that is a timeless style of US architecture since the early 1900s, and that building will be OK-looking for years to come.  

Shouldn't Greenville encourage more timeless styles of architecture? 

What if London in 1800 and 1900 and Paris in 1860 had accepted any kind of architecture: just how would they look, compared to today's West End and today's Paris, which are still timeless, despite having large portions still being 150-200 years old?

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My two cents, but I wish more buildings downtown at least had the quality of “Falls Park Place.” It’s an attractive building, seems to have quality materials and though not tall, it’s wonderful at str

I really like the ONE plaza. Different strokes for different folks I guess. However, the buildings could have been done better. 

I think that a "test" or indication of overall architectural direction in Greenville will be the final design of the proposed museum. If it in fact comes into existence and does house the BJU collecti

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This isn’t just a Greenville issue. Every metro area this size and larger from Raleigh to Charlotte to Atlanta has these type of apartment buildings going up. 

Edited by gman430
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I guess I’m not sure if you’re talking aesthetics, or actual construction. Because you can use concrete or steel (that can last as long as your Parisian example), but still make something ugly. And you can also build with wood and make something great. And, if it’s aesthetic, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. 

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I think that a "test" or indication of overall architectural direction in Greenville will be the final design of the proposed museum. If it in fact comes into existence and does house the BJU collection, but takes the form of a glass box or its equivalent, then Greenville will have missed its best opportunity to build something beautiful. That collection deserves a granite/marble, amply-columned (Greek or Roman) edifice, preferably with a dome, and where voices echo. But if Notre Dame ends up being ruined by architects, that won't bode well for places like Greenville.

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2 hours ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

Good point and you’re right.

I’d hope that flammable buildings aren’t being built downtown, and if they are, that’s a big problem.

I was more concerned with attractiveness of the buildings, but poor quality and dangerous construction could be a bigger issue.

Luckily, the City of Greenville has very strict fire codes when it comes to new construction. Of course no fire within a building is 100% preventable. Just look at Notre Dame for a great example of that. 

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14 hours ago, gman430 said:

This isn’t just a Greenville issue. Every metro area this size and larger from Raleigh to Charlotte to Atlanta has these type of apartment buildings going up. 

Wait, you are mentioning Charlotte in a Greenville thread? Don’t tell the others.......maybe that only allowed when you are negatively talking about CLT.

FWIW, I hate these buildings and would not live in one.  I have invested in some condos with similar construction, just would never live there.

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58 minutes ago, apaladin said:

Creative and different architecture equals more expensive and these are definitely too expensive already.

Please share more about this.

I am not looking for “creative” or “different”; just copy a nice 1905-era building and I’ll be happy.  Prague, Vienna, Paris, etc. have block after block of nearly identical styles and are stunningly attractive.

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This topic is re-piquing my interest in architectural history. I've read  fair amount here and there on what amounts to the decline--or shunning--of the "beautiful" in architecture that has taken place over the course of the last 80 years or so. I couldn't possibly articulate it myself, since I'm neither an artist nor a historian, but it's not hard to understand and you can see its effects.

Gman430's right about it not being only a Greenville issue, but in answer to the question, What genuinely beautiful buildings are there in Greenville, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with many. There are lots of beautiful old houses (as there are in every city), but what else? The Old Courthouse IMO wins that contest, particularly if they found a way to preserve the main courtroom, which was beautiful. Poinsett Hotel is nice, particularly the lobby, mezzanine and ballrooms; so is the Old Chamber building. The old manufacturing buildings around town have been admirably redone, but beautiful? Gassaway Mansion is interesting, but looks like a conventional mansion build around a turret--not sure about that aesthetically.

Of newer buildings, Poinsett Plaza's decent............................um........................well, Poinsett Plaza's decent. Riverplace is aesthetically unified in a nice way, but individually the buildings aren't particularly special. Grand Bohemian will hopefully shake things up a bit; and the Federal Courthouse will be a pretty nice looking block of granite (or whatever material).

Part of the problem is undoubtedly the oft-lamented tendency in the past to tear down worthy buildings. All the more reason some Greenville developers should try to make up for what's lost by building, as P&K has said, "time-tested architecture." Just don't hire the architect who proposed a glass roof and steel spire for Notre Dame.

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Exile, I agree with you.  Greenville doesn’t have many old buildings that are both old and memorable in a good way.  I guess it was too small and perhaps not wealthy enough to have large commercial buildings that stood out and “really something” 100 years ago.  And I agree with the ones you list as being the best.

Downtown doesn’t have much old bad stuff, either.  Most of the pre-1950s buildings downtown are OK.  The ugly  buildings downtown seem to be from the 1960s.  The newer ones are better-looking but I just am not sure how they will be viewed in 40 years.  Riverplace will be viewed as OK but just typical early 2000s construction.  The new apartment buildings and hotels might be viewed as ugly in 40 years, particularly as I see that they’re cheaply built and their styles aren’t time-tested.

Thus I’d prefer something older-looking, even if unexceptional.  

50-55southessex.com, we need you.  You aren’t gorgeous but you’re time-tested and you won’t be an eyesore in 40 years; you blend in well.

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2 hours ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

Exile, I agree with you.  Greenville doesn’t have many old buildings that are both old and memorable in a good way.  I guess it was too small and perhaps not wealthy enough to have large commercial buildings that stood out and “really something” 100 years ago.  And I agree with the ones you list as being the best.

Downtown doesn’t have much old bad stuff, either.  Most of the pre-1950s buildings downtown are OK.  The ugly  buildings downtown seem to be from the 1960s.  The newer ones are better-looking but I just am not sure how they will be viewed in 40 years.  Riverplace will be viewed as OK but just typical early 2000s construction.  The new apartment buildings and hotels might be viewed as ugly in 40 years, particularly as I see that they’re cheaply built and their styles aren’t time-tested.

Thus I’d prefer something older-looking, even if unexceptional.  

50-55southessex.com, we need you.  You aren’t gorgeous but you’re time-tested and you won’t be an eyesore in 40 years; you blend in well.

Yeah, I wasn't thinking about low-rise buildings: Main St. & vicinity has a number of very nice-looking 2-3 story buildings. And I also forgot about Falls Park Place. Not a fan of all the accents, but I do like the building. And what about the Legal Services Building? That's an interesting little triangle-shaped building. Too bad it's not twice as tall. Probably originally a bank building, I would assume.

50-55southessex.com.....Rivers Edge with real windows (kinda sorta).

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Greenville doesn’t have many old buildings that are both old and memorable in a good way.  I guess it was too small and perhaps not wealthy enough to have large commercial buildings that stood out and “really something” 100 years ago

There were several that were memorable but they were torn down. Textile Hall, the old Train Station, the old City Hall (originally a Post Office), the Woodside building, the Ottaray Hotel., just off  the top of my head.    

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A few nearby examples of newer or renovated "tall-ish" buildings with attractive and enduring design features include the following:

First Citizens Bank Headquarters - Columbia, S.C.

Marriott AC Hotel - Spartanburg, S.C.

82 Mary Street (approved proposal) - Charleston, S.C.

Arras Hotel & Condominiums - Asheville, N.C.

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5 minutes ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

The Marriott AC hotel in Spartanburg is perfect.

How does Spartanburg have more beautiful new buildings than Greenville does?

It doesn’t. Only the AC hotel in their downtown looks really good in my opinion. Nothing special about any of the other buildings downtown there. 

Edited by gman430
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On 4/27/2019 at 5:56 PM, PuppiesandKittens said:

I welcome any and all development downtown.  The more people and businesses downtown, the better.

However, so many buildings downtown that are being built now (particularly apartment buildings) are inexpensive buildings whose architecture won't stand the test of time.  Think how the 1960s Greenville News building looked and the Daniel Building look: dated, not timeless.  Further, articles suggest that the boxy apartment buildings being built around the country are just "cheap stick" buildings: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-02-13/why-america-s-new-apartment-buildings-all-look-the-same

I have seen plenty of examples of new construction using timeless architecture, both ordinary and fancy, and those other timeless styles are wiser because they are time-tested.

One example: 50-55southessex.com  

It's not fancy-looking, but that is a timeless style of US architecture since the early 1900s, and that building will be OK-looking for years to come.  

Shouldn't Greenville encourage more timeless styles of architecture? 

What if London in 1800 and 1900 and Paris in 1860 had accepted any kind of architecture: just how would they look, compared to today's West End and today's Paris, which are still timeless, despite having large portions still being 150-200 years old?

Yeah, a number of us have been pretty critical of this over the years, especially me. I just can't get on board with what I call lazy architecture. This modern boxy era we are in is pretty much awful; every now and then you see one that's not too bad. While I understand it can cost a lot of money to build in "character", there has to be a few elements that could be included to most buildings that wouldn't add a ton. One of my pet peeves is a flat top, they looked so hacked off. I really wish Greenville could have a few buildings with a topper. Especially these apartment buildings would look ten times better with varying roof heights or a topper condo, and we seem to have no trouble finding people to pay for expensive ones. If they have to be flat, how about a decorative cornice, that wouldn't be too expensive. How about something that's not a box? 

On 4/28/2019 at 7:23 AM, Exile said:

I think that a "test" or indication of overall architectural direction in Greenville will be the final design of the proposed museum. If it in fact comes into existence and does house the BJU collection, but takes the form of a glass box or its equivalent, then Greenville will have missed its best opportunity to build something beautiful. That collection deserves a granite/marble, amply-columned (Greek or Roman) edifice, preferably with a dome, and where voices echo. 

I COMPLETELY forgot about this one already! Agreed though, I would much rather the museum be a classic museum. There used to be a greek style building, across from the Greek Church and old Bilo building, that looks like an old church or something. Something like that would be nice for a museum. Just not a modern box, PLEASE! 

An example of missing the boat is our downtown library. I would love to have Florence or Easley's style library ANYDAY!

Florence

Image result for florence sc library

 

Easley

Image result for easley sc library

On 4/28/2019 at 8:36 PM, vicupstate said:

There were several that were memorable but they were torn down. Textile Hall, the old Train Station, the old City Hall (originally a Post Office), the Woodside building, the Ottaray Hotel., just off  the top of my head.    

Yeah those are some that would be nice to have back. How about the record building? (Similar to the Wilkins house).

th?id=OIP.JQcLB6ZYMVKDMb2C_U5i2QHaLo&w=1

See the source image

Love the symphony building 

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Here is the Old City Hall

See the source image

Couple of nice newer buildings : the Condo building on University Ridge/Cleveland is beautiful and I like the Falls Park bulding that went up a couple years ago. 

11 hours ago, Skyliner said:

A few nearby examples of newer or renovated "tall-ish" buildings with attractive and enduring design features include the following:

First Citizens Bank Headquarters - Columbia, S.C.

Marriott AC Hotel - Spartanburg, S.C.

82 Mary Street (approved proposal) - Charleston, S.C.

Arras Hotel & Condominiums - Asheville, N.C.

Good examples. It can certainly be done. 

9 hours ago, vicupstate said:

^^I wish that Asheville developer would buy our City Hall and do a similar project there.  The building in Asheville was an office building with similar construction to Greenville CIty Hall only even less attractive.     

Landmark building. That's the one that needs the makeover - make a new tallest with appts/condos and a new miltilevel suite on top, remove old outdated offfice space. 

3 hours ago, gman430 said:

It doesn’t. Only the AC hotel in their downtown looks really good in my opinion. Nothing special about any of the other buildings downtown there. 

Agreed. But even though there's nothing "special," I think many of their newer buildings have a generally more appealing look with a few more character elements than most of Greenville's. To me, they are just a step or two above most of what Greenville is getting in terms of attractiveness. The AC is beautiful. 

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13 hours ago, gman430 said:

It doesn’t. Only the AC hotel in their downtown looks really good in my opinion. Nothing special about any of the other buildings downtown there. 

The AC is terrrific, but so is the renovated Montgomery Building.   The new county courthouse looks very promising unlike the new federal “jail house” look courthouse in Greenville.  The Denny’s building is not offensive, just looks too 80’s.

i don’t hate One.  Not a fan of anything at Camperdown, the buildings in that development  could be alongside any interstate in the country. In Greenville, The Peace Center is the standout.  

20 hours ago, Skyliner said:

A few nearby examples of newer or renovated "tall-ish" buildings with attractive and enduring design features include the following:

First Citizens Bank Headquarters - Columbia, S.C.

Marriott AC Hotel - Spartanburg, S.C.

82 Mary Street (approved proposal) - Charleston, S.C.

Arras Hotel & Condominiums - Asheville, N.C.

The First Citizens Building (Cola)  is one of the best in S.C. 

A lot of other midrise buildings in Cola are being converted into apartments, they look terrific while preserving older structures.

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 I would love to have Florence or Easley's style library ANYDAY!

I agree the Florence library is nice.  However, it is hard to get taxpayers to agree to even build public buildings at all, much less one with 'extras' that are cosmetic in nature. That library was heavily subsided by a local private Foundation. They insisted on the level of architecture you see there, and they were paying the tab. 

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32 minutes ago, vicupstate said:

I agree the Florence library is nice.  However, it is hard to get taxpayers to agree to even build public buildings at all, much less one with 'extras' that are cosmetic in nature. That library was heavily subsided by a local private Foundation. They insisted on the level of architecture you see there, and they were paying the tab. 

The Anderson County main public library is an excellent design for such a building.

People may have forgotten the amount of public money granted for the AC hotel in Spartanburg as well.

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The chance to set a high standard for architectural styles was lost with the One project.  From one perspective it looks like a stack of graham crackers.  From another perspective it looks like school buildings built in the 50-60's.  And then the opportunity to have a beautiful grassed and landscaped park in the "One Plaza" was passed on in favor of more concrete ,  pavers, etc.  And to cap all of that off, if you are on Coffee Street trying to turn on to Main you are blinded by  flood lights.  

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I don't get the comments but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  

One Plaza is a massive improvement over the grassy plaza that was a dog restroom before that. The pedestrian traffic patterns there are not condusive to  a lawn.  It is very well done, IMO. 

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