Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rendering Street Life - Dapper Bruce LaFitte, Atlanta's City Design Studio, and Brian Stromquist

I wish city planner presentations were more like Dapper Bruce's.

When I get a triple urban design epiphany, I figure I'm the last to know.

1. On May 20 I saw "The Dapper Comes to the Walkers" in which New Orleans folk artist Dapper Bruce LaFitte presents lovable street scenes. It's at the Atlanta Contemporary through August 7. Go see.

I'm thinking: I wish city planner presentations were more like Dapper Bruce's.

2. On May 23. Atlanta opened its City Design Studio as a popup in Ponce City Market. This is a good thing, keep your eye out for a party.

I'm thinking: I wish city planner presentations were more like Dapper Bruce's.

3. One Saturday May 27 I met Brian Stromquist, an architect at San Francisco office of Ginsler. Brian said architects were trying to incorporate "anticipation and memory" which is what happens in art and poetry.

I'm thinking: Maybe the artists and the city planners could get together once in a while?

Here's how Dapper Bruce does lovable places:

New Orleans artist Dapper Bruce LaFitte is my new favorite renderer of street life.

This is how architecture and city planning professionals do lovable places.


How Dapper Bruce does it


How model builders do it.


How Dapper Bruce does it.

20160526_111050 2016-05-26 Dapper Bruce LaFitte Atlanta Contemporary

What they teach in architecture school.



Dapper Bruce LaFitte

Thanks to Gensler architect Brian Stromquist who goofed with me for Instagram and put "anticipation and memory into my head."

20160523_101303 2016-05-23 Opening of Atlanta City Studio Kevin Bacon, Tim Keane, Ryan Gravel Jodi Mansbach,  Vanessa Lira Ponce City Market
2016-05-23 Opening day for Atlanta City Studio popup with Kevin Bacon, Tim Keane, Ryan Gravel, Jodi Mansbach, and Vanessa Lira. This is important: they are making Atlanta more fun. Drop in on the 2nd floor of  Ponce City Market.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"We Were Never Going to Tear It Down" - our Breuer Library

That's what former Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts said on Wednesday night about Atlanta's Marcel Breuer designed library which I call "The Breuer," (How to pronounce Breuer)

Mr. Pitts also said, "But in 2008 the voters voted to build a new downtown library."

Thanks to FOCAL - Friends of the Central Atlanta Library, Creative Loafing and the Center for Civic Innovation for hosting their 4th "Social Studies" and the meeting last night, this one about the future of The Breuer. They asked the panel:

"What’s wrong with Atlanta's Central Library and can it be fixed?"

I scribbled #terrystinybulletpoints which are a little whiny. Read Thomas Wheatley's report "What will happen to Atlanta's Central Library, an architecturally significant but undervalued building?" at Creative Loafing. And see "Atlanta’s Central Library debate" at Turned Georgian.

The stair window is my favorite place in the library. The grimy glass is a sign of why folks are talking about it. If the library can't manage to clean one of the coolest windows in Atlanta - and it's on the ground floor -  then....

Here's the panel It one was as focused and on point as a panel can get. Special thanks to Kyle Kessler who opened with a history of the Downtown Libraries.

So here are #terrystinybulletpoints
  1. I had stumbled on to a discussion that began before 2008. 
  2. The most boring use I can imagine for The Breuer is as a library.
  3. At the very same hour Switch Modern held a seminar, "Why Beauty Matters." I wonder how this would go if The Breuer was considered beautiful as well as "significant," "world class" and "master work."
  4. I wished the Beauty Matters folks were at our meeting.
  5. Side 1: Politicians need to do what the voters voted for in 2008: a new downtown library.
  6. Side 2: The Breuer could work as the "new downtown library" and it would be cheaper and it needs some work. The library is at risk if it's not a library.
  7. Libraries are no longer be what they were when The Breuer was built. It's a white elephant.
  8. Libraries will no longer be what they were when the "new" library was(is) built. It will be a white elephant.
  9.  Does building to "the program" guarantee inflexible short-lived buildings?
  10. I don't think the government is the best long term steward for "The Breuer.".
  11. If they tear it down, will we get a world-class hotel befitting our international city? 
  12. A Kroger in The Breuer might help the downtown renaissance thing more than a library or a hotel.
So Terry what are your #smartypants suggestions?
  1. If we must, build the new library in Underground Atlanta. Maybe white elephants can cancel each other out or perhaps work together. Perhaps it can bridge south downtown with not-south downtown.
  2. Get the High Museum / Woodruff Arts Center to buy The Breuer and give downtown a major cultural center that is actually on the sidewalk where a lot of people walk, where tourists hang out, near our popular downtown park and our big downtown university, in the midst of the hotel/convention district. Make it our Whitney. The High would have a Meier, a Piano AND a Breuer. Can we get Calatrava to build a bridge to one of them? TOTAL PACKAGE!
  3. I don't think Atlanta has the patron capital or the art fan capital to pull it off right now.
  4. Check your lottery ticket and get back to me.
Thanks to everybody for a useful meeting in an extraordinary building.

When it rains, the brutalist diagonal concrete grooves rock.

Monday, May 2, 2016

I'm Following Four Builds in Ansley Park: Block, Choate, McAlpine Busch

It matters more in Ansley Park than north of West Wesley. I mean harmony and scale, fitting and fitting in. In landscaping terms big Buckhead homes are like "specimen trees" while Ansley homes are like "mass plantings." Specimen houses are solo acts. Mass plantings improve with teamwork.

Building  a 15,000 square foot estate house on acreage where the front door is 100 yards from the street - say on Valley Road - is not like building on Polo.

I'm sure our architects relish the challenge.

Hulse House is Gone.
Hulse Residence by Anthony Ames in early demolition. It was controversial, hated and loved.

It's replacement looks looks like a sprawling nest of low-rise gables. By James Choate Choate Houses Modern / Choate Houses Traditional.

 Boxwood Is Gone.

It was on a hill, we could barely see it. How valuable is 0.997 hilltop acres a couple of blocks from the High Museum and Symphony Hall?

From invisible to this landmark composition by Peter Block left and Greg Busch on the right. These need each other I think.

Some Little Houses on Polo are Gone.
They were so cute. There are a few left but they don't have long term prospects.

Bobby McAlpine designed these two to replace them. It's a rare thrill when architects design small'ish and side-by-side..

Thanks. What are you following?

20160501_103703 2016-05-01 96 Westminster teardown Ansley the Hulse House

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