Message - Re: unpleasant backsides of buildings

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Posted by  Paul Malo on September 12, 2002 at 07:28:43:

In Reply to:  Re: unpleasant backsides of buildings posted by vandy on September 12, 2002 at 07:01:59:

Don't begin with the presupposition that buildings should be uniform, presenting similar attitudes on all sides. Context often makes change desirable--when, for instance, one side of a site is on a public street, the other on a public park or private garden.

What is essential is an integrating intention. If the building has two aspects, both sould be eloquent, conveying a purposeful attitude. Your critique seems directed at the common failing, supposing that only the more public aspect needs attention. The reason most commonly is cheapness, followed by laziness.

Here's another interesting case, however. Richard Meier recently did an elegant public building (a court house, as I recall) out on Long Island. He didn't want his beautiful front fašade marred by a parking lot, so moved it away, requiring users to walk through the weather to the public entry. This may not be "front-back" exactly, but it's likewise symptomatic of the architects tendency to try to hide, or wish away, uncongenial aspects of the project.

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