Monday, December 29, 2014

I Don't Think This Is a Smashing Visual Success - Do You?

To my eye it's interesting visual clutter, not my style. So on this gray Sunday morning I saw it on foot, walked all the way around.

They tore down the I. M. Pei designed Gulf Oil Building. In fact they tore down the whole block except for St. Paul's Presbyterian to build 131 PONCE Apartment Homes.


There are done now and this is what we got. View east on Ponce de Leon.

20141228_103550 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
I'm not going to rehash all the controversy but you can rehash all you want. View south on Juniper.

P1150247-2013-01-08-Demolition-131-Ponce-de-Leon-by-I-M-Pei-Gulf-Oil-Building-1949
Not every angle of the old Gulf Building was magnificent; not everybody loved it.

20141228_110132 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
The developers saved the marble and built an homage to the old building and put the pool on top. Bathers will have a great view of the Midtown skyline. View west on Ponce de Leon.

20141228_105503 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil building Atlanta St Pauls Presbyterian Church Atlanta
I was most concerned about St. Paul's Presbyterian, a one-of-a-kind that I fear is a white elephant for which which we must hope. I don't think "131" leveraged St. Paul's beauty though. The block looks like a mess from this angle too.

P1170674-2013-03-16-Ponce-Apartment-Phoenix-Flies-APC-rooftop-view-east-Gulf-Oil-IM-Pei-lot-buffted-post-demolition-detail
They scraped off the Gulf Oil Building, a former office furniture store, and parking lots, a little more than 2.5 acres. View east from the top of the Ponce Apartments.

I give credit for building on one of our most road-isolated blocks. Juniper (bottom of picture, one-way right) has five one-way lanes south, Piedmont (bottom of picture, one-way left) has four one-way lanes north. Six lanes each on North and Ponce de Leon. It's busy and fast on these streets.

I walked counter-clockwise starting at Ponce then south on Juniper.

P1160248-2013-02-08-I-M-Pei-Gulf-Oil-Building-Demolition-removing-Marble-panels-West-facade
The Gulf Oil Building gave Juniper a cold shoulder. View south on Juniper.

IMG_5480 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
The Juniper side felt comfortable to me, from here it seemed like an apartment building. I felt safely buffered by a green strip and protected by a row of poles and trees. I wasn't expecting comfort. Walking here has never been so good. View south on Juniper.

IMG_5493 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
Emory's new Proton Therapy Building (the beached white whale) is a lot less inviting. View Northwest from North Avenue.

20141228_104033 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
From the corner of North and Juniper I could see the whole new composition without the Pei homage or the church. It's what I imagine the Khumbu Icefall on Everest looks like. My eye couldn't get a grip on it but I did see balconies. View east on North Avenue.

IMG_5495 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
The North Avenue Side.

20141228_104804 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
Here's the view from North and Piedmont. My eye didn't get it except for the balconies.

IMG_5499 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
It kind of woks as the foot hills protecting Peachtree Ridge and the Midtown skyscrapers. You might think of it as a fortified line. This could be the most picturesque building on Ponce between North Avenue Presbyterian and Highland School Lofts. View west on North Avenue.

20141228_104817 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil
The Ivy Hall Apartments on the right are a bit more traditional.

IMG_5504 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil St Pauls Presbyterian Church Atlanta
I'm most interested in the Church, in making sure it survives. I hoped the new apartment would leverage it, compliment it.

20141228_105039 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil St Pauls Presbyterian Church Atlanta
I'm not sure it does.

IMG_5513 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil St Pauls Presbyterian Church Atlanta stained glass window damage
It needs help.

20141228_105403 2014-12-28 131 Ponce De Leon teardown formerly I M Pei Gulf Oil building Atlanta St Pauls Presbyterian Church Atlanta
The green corner makes a difference. Go have a look.



Happy New Year.

20141227_201925 2014-12-27 131 Ponce De Leon complete night

14 comments:

  1. Just....SHITEOUS! Does the City of Atlanta have any zoning laws to prevent buildings like this one from happening???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No the City doesn't and I'm not sure I'd want them too. Some neighborhoods / districts do have design controls, most don't.

      Delete
    2. The City's zoning codes guide land use, building height, floor area, parking, etc., but not the nitty-gritty design details. The City's SPI districts have limited design controls. It's unlikely the City will pass any other type of design controls outside its designated historic districts. We'll be seeing a lot more Tetris Architecture, I fear, until the fad is over.

      Delete
  2. Yes, let's not rehash the loss of the IM Pei building, but at the same time no one should have encouraged the new design to rehash Pei's architecture either. It should've been highly discouraged. Let new architecture stand on its own with a nod to the existing buildings that remain. St Paul's deserves better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Ivy Hall condos are a better attempt at being traditional than the new development attempt's at being IM Pei. Thankfully the Ivy Hall condos compliment the Landmark Ivy Hall they surround, unlike that of St Paul. Good example vs. Bad example of infill.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We learn so little and forget so much.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The top photograph really is bad. With the color scheme and all the lines, it kind of looks like stacked trash to me in that one. View south on Juniper is nice though. And I will say, as you're flying by in a car, the building blends in okay with some of the others in that area, on Peachtree or further up and down Juniper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes flying by is the way to go, it seems to bustle.

      Delete
  6. On my visit today, I like the church in isolation and I like the homage in isolation. The backdrop of the T-shaped apartments makes both look worse to my eye. That's what's most disappointing to me. It should all work together regardless of style.

    ReplyDelete
  7. After a quick view of your pictures, I must say I wouldn't have a clue as to where to park or how to enter the building should I want to visit someone living there. That says, for one thing, I certainly wouldn't be in a hurry to get there. Poor job of design next to a lovely old church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, being able to "read" a place with your eye - like: where the door is - sure makes a place more comfortable.

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  10. Amazing to see the Ivy Hall apartments held up in these comments as a good example, and the restoration of the I.M. Pei building disregarded. Look at the before and after ... the renovation is far more sensitive and true to the original design than what was replaced.

    The Ivy Hall apartments look like someone accidentally built a complex destined for Smyrna in the heart of the city.

    ReplyDelete

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