Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Discovering 40+ Vernacular Cottages in a Row - Campgound "Tents"

Shingleroof Campground McDonough, Georgia.

"If it'a' been a snake it'a'  bit me." I was gobsmacked and moved. I'm not over it.

I was a little early so I decided to cruise around Architecture Tourist style. There's STILL a campground on Campground Road just north of McDonough. I'd stumbled into a living cultural museum. I had ten minutes but needed 10 hours.

Here are a few of the back sides.














A 360 view.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bare Bulbs at Eye Level - Why THIS House Doesn't Sell

Glare Bombs: The eye-level bare bulb'ed pendant lights over the kitchen island are awful. Here are similar lights.

Does this ever work? I asked the agent to turn them off for me - instant relief.

It's a tear-down in my neighborhood. It's a safe design, a 4-square spec house that checks all the boxes. The details are better than most. The agents told me it's built better than most.

But it sits empty.

Seems like an easy fix to me. Can't they see it?

A Pattern Language has something to say  in 252. POOLS OF LIGHT:
"Uniform illumination - the sweetheart of the lighting engineers - serves no useful purpose whatsoever. In fact, it destroys the social nature of space, and makes people feel disoriented and unbounded."



Friday, January 24, 2014

Charm that's Bigger Than It Really Is in Lake Claire

On Tuesday morning the low winter sun lit the south side of McLendon and this little house caught my eye. Tax records say it's about 1,200 square feet, built in 1940. It's so good.

There are 1000's of great ways to detail this wall but a billion bad ways.

The gable's peak is half hipped, clipped or jerkinhead: "a hipped part of a roof which is hipped only for a part of its height leaving a truncated gable."

The bell-shaped window just touches the fascia.

The returns are prominent but not too beefy. The white trim moves my eye all around. The tall chimney has a little hat. Neatly spaced  little boxwoods don't crowd the view or diminish the height. A leggy bush softens the corner but doesn't hide the foundation. the hydrangeas aren't yet overgrown. It would look so different without the window box. Smooth trim and glass, shingles on roof and walls, brick and screen, horizontals, verticals and diagonals, one complex curve.

Designers get these details right and can imagine successful variations.

Guests know where to knock and sense the sheltering porch.

The garbage cans are just a sign of life.

Bravo. Let's come back in the spring.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Four Reasons This House Doesn't Sell: Safety, Heart, Zones of Intimacy

Why does this terrific house stay on the market so long?

It was a late 80's near teardown, 4,500 square feet, great lot, great street, great neighborhood. It's a "statement" house, modern-ish, very well designed by Barry Doss R.I.P.. It's well built, well landscaped, and in great condition.

Why has it been a slow seller all four times? I've visited and I know why.

1. The grand stair does not look safe. It's the primary design feature in the entrance hall. It's where the eye goes. It seems steep and exposed. I got up and down in complete safety you understand but I never got used to it. It's a mountain couloir, an ice-fall of steps spilling through a wide mouth into the foyer. I would not know how to fix it.

2. The kitchen though spectacular is not the heart of the house. It's well designed, practical, convenient, well lit, loaded with no-glare natural light with the highest quality appliances and finishes. It's beautiful. A separate kitchen is simply how design worked at the time. But it's dated. It can never be the center of family life.

A Pattern Language: "The isolated kitchen, separate from the family and considered as an efficient but unpleasant factory for food is a hangover from the days of servants..." Pattern 129. COMMON AREAS AT THE HEART

There is no easy fix. Isolated kitchens define 20th century design. It's the biggest and most expensive challenge for successful. renovations.

3. and 4. Neither of the two master suites have a bathroom door. Listing agents know this is one of the dumbest ideas ever. They must be ready to explain that some folks will just love no-door living.

Another quote from A Pattern Language: "Unless the spaces in a building are arranged in a sequence which corresponds to their degrees of privateness, the visits made by strangers, friends, guests, clients, family, will always be a little awkward." - Pattern 127. INTIMACY GRADIENT.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Part 2 - 2013 in N-tychs - People, Dance, Art, Houses, Cats, Turkey

What a year. See Part 1 "The Year in Diptychs, Triptychs, and N-tychs - Atlanta 2013."

Uplit gloATL performed "Liquid Culture Utopia Station III" at the Goat Farm.

Virginia Coleman performs gloATL's "Liquid Culture Utopia Station IV" with the High Museum's "House III" by Roy Lichtenstein.

Shara Hughes' "Don’t Tell Anyone But . . ." tore the roof clean off the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.

How they made our "Almighty Crepe" with Strawberries and Nutella at Julianna's Coffee &; Crepes in Inman Park Inman Park.

Three by Knox Wilkerson at Mason Murer Fine Art.

3TTMAN for Living Walls.

They took down the Randolph-Lucas House's chimneys before the move.

Five black cats in Reynoldstown during the PUBLIC ATLAS walkabout by ACAC, Fallen Fruit, and Wonderroot. (Special thanks to Lauren and Sarah)

The shore side of St. Augustine's Bridge of Lions is the best place to wait it out.

Captain Day's daughters' houses, three sisters in Lumber City. See more details at Brian Brown's Vanishing South Georgia, he took some pictures too..

Jen Soong (Soma Goods) and Emily Pilloton at "Accelerating the Maker Movement." Emily's film "If You Build It" plays Atlanta on February 14, 2014, the place to be on Valentines Day.

Creative Mornings Atlanta get ready at One Twelve Gallery.

How to unfold the roof after the Randolph-Lucas House moved to Ansley Park.

What we ate for Thanksgiving.

Happy to have another one of these with loved ones. This can't go on forever.

See Part 1 "The Year in Diptychs, Triptychs, and N-tychs - Atlanta 2013."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Almost a Teardown - Morningside Modern Renovation by Dencity Design Complete

Dencity Design ranks high on "edgy" in the Architecture Tourist scale of modernist home design.

Once you know it's a Dencity, it's fun to  guess whether it's a Bryan Russel (left) or Staffan Svenson (right) design. I think I can tell. I've house-sat both a Bryan house and a Steffan house for Modern Atlanta, but that's another blog post.

I thought this one would be a teardown for sure. It was a totally ignorable house, hard to see because of the hill and 4-lanes of traffic. There was some nice detailing though. Property tax records say 1,199 square feet on a 0.172 acre lot built in 1929.

In context.

But instead of tearing it down, they popped the top and added on.  Look at that triangle thing above the porch arches.

It's done and it's got that Dencity edge.

I'm unexpectedly amused and charmed: How about that crazy triangle window aligning with the old-timey shingle hipped roof? I hereby declare this the Triangle House.

I like that the old house is still in there taking the edge off the sleek.

In Context.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Year in Diptychs, Triptychs, and N-tychs - Atlanta 2013

I enjoy doing these. See "Part 2 - 2013 in N-tychs - People, Dance, Art, Houses, Cats, Turkey"

The very first pickup of the very first season of  WonderRoot CSA (Community Supported Art) featured art by Jessica Caldas, Nick Madden and Wret Rausaw, at Octane Grant Park. Terrific event.

Liane Birnberg, at the Visual Arts Gallery Arts at Emory show "No Translation Required/Keine Ubersetzung Benotigt." One of her works, a quiet abstract on crumpled paper, really got me, still gets me. I can't tell you why.

I've been going to Creative Mornings I'm not an early riser so this is a character. They start with an amusing activity in this case a money-booth . Blake Howard (with the microphone) leads Creative Mornings Atlanta.

This is Jonathan LaCrosse. He's an historian, a collector, and an architect at D.Stanley Dixon. He gave the Shutze Lecture in the Little Chapel to kick off the 2013 Phillip Trammel Shutze Awards. Dear readers you know this is a trifecta of architectural goodness.

gloATL rehearsal at the Goat Farm's Goodson Yard.

I went back to see the Temple of God Church in Blandtown but it was gone.

They removed the last "City Hall East" sign from Ponce City Market.

Doug Allen is professor emeritus at Georgia Tech College of Architecture. Former students and collegues endowed an annual lecture in his honor featuring internationally known landscape architects. The 2014 lecture should be in early March. You should go.

Some of my Phoenix Flies companions in front the Atlanta Preservation Center's L.P. Grant Mansion. The next Phoenix Flies is March 8-23, 2014.

We celebrated The Healey Building's 100th birthday.

We celebrated the Kessler Building's 100th birthday too. This is Darrin Givins aka Atlanta Urbanist with his Atlanta Magazine blurbs.

"Other Initiated Repairs" by Alisa Mittin and Alex Abarca for Dance Truck performed at whitespace.

Le Stanne Opticians has this nice stained glass.

I've got too many. See "Part 2 - 2013 in N-tychs - People, Dance, Art, Houses, Cats, Turkey"

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Year in New Urbanists Lecturing Atlantans - 2013 Krier, Duany, Nygren, Speck, Mouzon

Some of  best "new urbanism" personalities spoke in Atlanta in last year.

While I don't want to argue about urbanist definitions, I will argue that urbanist lectures are lots of fun. The standard for urbanist lectures is high. All compete with Jane Jacobs' impossibly witty "The Death and Life of Great American Cities."

Leon Krier gave the first "Academy of Medicine Lecture" at Georgia Tech on January 23, 2013. I think Krier was a new urbanist before they coined the term. Quote: "Skyscrapers are vertical cul-de-sacs."

Leon Krier (left) had his quiver loaded with stinging criticism for lame planning. "It's not about style."

Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, spoke to the Midtown Alliance on March 28, 2013. Everybody dressed up. I do not know how I got the invitation but thanks.

This is the view from PWC conference room at 1075 Peachtree Street. Wow.

Here's Jeff. Maria Saporta wrote about it in the Saporta Report: "A more walkable Atlanta equals a healthier and more prosperous city."

The NAREE (National Association of Real Estate Editors) had a new urbanism panel at their annual meeting on June 7. David Bodamer moderated Steve Nygren, Andres Duany, and Jackie Doak. This was an entire day of ideas crammed into an hour and a half. Way too short.

Steve Nygren founded Serenbe on Atlanta's doorstep. Steve is the practice of the theory.

I doubt that Andres Duany has ever uttered an unquotable sentence. "Essentially there is no choice in the suburbs. Everybody has the same lifestyle ... everybody drives everywhere for everything."

Duany was not ready to stop when his time was up. He loves the dialogue and the argument, me too.

Thanks to Tony Wilbert who snuck me in as a journalist. Tony (follow him at @twilbert) is one of Atlanta's newsiest tweeters.

Steve Mouzon spoke to the Atlanta Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism on December 19. Steve's heart, soul, and energy levels are bigger than this. But he didn't talk about urbanism. He talked about his latest book: New Media for Designers + Builders and told the audience to turn their smartphones ON.

And there was some nice dessert at The Shed at Glenwood.

I'm keeping my eye out for new urbanism talkers in 2014. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Year in Demolition - Atlanta 2013

We lost a Neel Reid and an I.M Pei this year.

The McCord Apartments by Hentz, Reid & Adler, job number 491 occupied in 1923.

It was on Seventh Street behind the Starbucks.

The I. M. Pei designed Gulf Oil Building. "The building was architect I. M. Pei's first project, built in 1949 ..."  - Wiki

Buffed and ready for apartments, half built as of this writing.

Loca Luna was on the same block as the McCord.

They are repurposing the Ramada Inn.

But the Ramada's parking lot had to go.

Building 1 at the CDC left the campus.

It got a bit sideways in the process.

103 Fort Street is history.

You had to stand on the porch to appreciate the weirdest brise soleil in Atlanta.

Now it's one more buffed lot on the fringes of the Auburn Avenue Historic District and the Old Fourth Ward.

The old stone sanctuary in Hapeville took all year to tear down.

It was a bear.

Most folks never saw it anyway, an unmanageable landmark lost in a place with few landmarks.

The Crum and Forster is 2/3's gone.

It still classes up the neighborhood.

The Hulse House was the shocker, not even 30 years old.

But there it goes.

Mt. Vernon Baptist is in Falcons stadium territory.

Friendship Baptist too, go look before they are gone.

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