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colin

haute houses

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Just as I was criticzing Phoenix architecture, I picked up a New Times when I arrived today to find this:

Haute Houses

The article heavily criticizes the glass and metal trend of new buildings in Phoenix, particularly the new federal court house Downtown.

The question posed: "Why, here in the desert, would anyone live in a glass house?"

I think it's a good question. Very interesting article, and it does present the other side. It also brings up the idea that this trend is just the last desperate grasps of modernism, which I think is very true.

Read...discuss...

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I don't disagree. But i'm not really a fan of modernist architecture. I like alot of glass and steel buildings, I think alot of them are beautiful. I will say I really dont like the modernist architecture from the 50's and 60's. There are a few buildings downtown that I think look like old school vegas. I passionately dislike the look of the stucco, bleached white track homes of the valley. I know I come from what is essentially another part of the continent. I know they are probabally the most energy efficient design, but I think they are so damn boring. Not much is more depressing to me than driving by a subdivision where are the house are the same boring white color.

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This article bugged me because the facts are not true...

I live in The Vale- the staircases are painted over and do not heat up.

I also highly doubt the problems with the roof caused a divorce on the House of Earth and whatever.......

I live and breathe the properties Robert Pela rips on-

My utility bill here is cheap. -Same with Loloma 5- shaded well, cheap utility bills. He needs to not lump all of these projects in to the same bracket.

Some don't have much metal- some don't have much glass...

We are not getting taken over by glass boxes. -There are maybe 100 properties like this in the entire Valley-

but are maybe a million stucco tile-roof boxes, or the Tuscan Scottsdale look homes- why not rip on this "sea of mediocrity" rather than the colorful new unique projects that add character to our city?

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While I see the point about all the glass and such. If you're going to start being that picky then wouldn't have to argue about building up such a large metro in such an area in the first place? To me it seems Phoenix seems to stand out from the area rather blending in, in the first place. But that's just from my perspective.

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Well you do have a ton of people in an area where nature is not known for being hospitable. Ironically, you have tons more people moving this way everyday. However thru the miracle of engineering, aside from air conditioning, there are ways you can build homes to make them more heat proof if you will. A way not to do that, is to build a house full of ceiling to floor type windows. Essentially what you are doing, is putting a green house into an oven.

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Well you do have a ton of people in an area where nature is not known for being hospitable. Ironically, you have tons more people moving this way everyday. However thru the miracle of engineering, aside from air conditioning, there are ways you can build homes to make them more heat proof if you will. A way not to do that, is to build a house full of ceiling to floor type windows. Essentially what you are doing, is putting a green house into an oven.

Yeah certainly not the best things to do. But Phoenix seems to me just a little bit like Las Vegas, built without a lot of concern of the surrounding environment. That's just the impression I've gotten. I don't mean it as particularly negative comment. Maybe a bit of a 'man above nature' mentality is a way to describe what I'm trying to say.

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Thankfully, some conscientious developers are now following LEED and making a concerted effort to obtain higher ratings, sometimes at the expense of the architecture though. I don't follow Valley development to know how much they're into this there, but I've heard it mentioned several times regarding Tucson projects.

You're totally right about that greenhouse thing, Matt. I think that identity crisis thing comes into play again. What is Phoenix architecture? Is there really a definition? It's an issue that a lot of Sun Belt cities deal with, I think. Although neighbors like Tucson and Albuquerque do have their specific styles that are fairly unique to those cities. Phoenix maybe just needs to hurry and find its niche.

But I think also that Loftguy has a good point that the media and critics should spend more of their time criticizing the homogenous sprawl that dictates suburban life in the Valley, especially the East. However, I don't think that this would make much of a story. I mean, who doesn't hate sprawl who also cares enough to read the paper regularly? There's not a lot of argument there. Certainly not enough for the cover story, which is what this was.

It is unfortunate, but Phoenix does look quite a bit like Las Vegas. Maybe it's the California immigrants in both places. The Spanish tile, white stucco exterior, cul-de-sac, grass subdivision sucks. I think people want to live in better communities, and it's up to the developers to actually get some balls and build something unique.

Although, I will offer a bit more complement to Gilbert: I appreciate the larger lot "White Fence"-themed subdivisions along either Warner or Elliot (very close to the riparian park). It's certainly more unique to the East Valley, although I don't know how long those large lot developments will survive.

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I think you're right too, It seems lately the styles in the valley have started to change. The amount of medium density residential going in is quite substantial. I've heard about LEED. There's alot of talk about it in the Grand Rapids forum. Alot of LEED concerned architects working on the developments there.

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