Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eastbanc Releases West End Designs


Eastbanc publicly released drawings of its two proposed West End projects last night. The designs by and Mexico-based TEN Arquitectos as primary designer with collaberation from WDG Architecture are a substantial departure from the more traditional architecture of the neighborhood. Below are the newest renderings:

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the second rendering! I don't think we have anything like that downtown.

Anonymous said...

fantastic

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when architects aim to design a cutting-edge pieces of art instead of beautiful buildings. A beautiful building will be beloved by generation after generation. A cutting-edge building, ugly on day one, will typically lose its edge within 15 years and become nothing but a blight.

The first rendering usefully shows us that stacking small, shipping-crate-like buildings on top of one another does not result in an attractive building. Are modernist architects unaware that large, blank facades repel human beings, or do they know it and not care?

The second rendering succeeds in catching the eye, but so does a train wreck. During the whole history of human civilization until part way through the 20th century, architects invariably sought to design buildings to appear (as well as be) structurally sound. That was a wise (though obvious) approach, because human beings don't like buildings that look as if they could topple. Casting this wisdom aside, the trendy jenga-block style of architecture produces precarious-looking stacks that elicit a vague sense of uneasiness in the average onlooker. Aren't we all uneasy enough these days without buildings piling on?

Anonymous said...

Beauty is soooo 19th century darling. Today, everyone is breaking the mold. I finally feel the fresh promise of a new world embodied in these shinny surfaces of geometric purity. If I wanted beauty, I'd go to Paris!

Colin on Apr 26, 2011, 12:22:00 PM said...

The second is horrendous, while the first is merely stomach-turning. These were conceived by architects to please architects, not people.

Erin said...

Fully agree with anon 11:34. The fire station looks abominable. The L Street building seems like it could be interesting, but its too hard to say from the rendering.

Evan on Apr 26, 2011, 1:10:00 PM said...

The first looks more tame, and the final product will depend on the finish quality, but the second is exactly what we need more of in DC. The most successful cities in europe, (i.e. Amsterdam, London, Paris) succeed in creating a dynamic and exciting street-scape precisely by creating contrast between well-designed, modern structures with the surrounding historical context.

Anonymous said...

The cities Evan cites are wonderful largely because their cores have, for the most part, been spared the ravages of modernism. The modernist buildings in Paris, for example, are almost all on its outskirts, where tourists and wealthy Parisians don't not have to look at them. The two major modernist buildings in central Paris -- Tour Montparnasse and the Centre Pompidou -- are widely loathed by tourists and locals alike. Modernism has made greater inroads in central London, and that is one reason why London isn't as lovely as Paris.

If you want to see what a historic city looks like when modernism has the run of the place, visit Berlin or Beijing.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. So our choices are hideous or boring?

"Today, everyone is breaking the mold." The reason why there was a mold was because the mold worked. Unless you have a good reason, breaking the mold looks exactly that: broken.

Anonymous said...

unimaginative scum, architects are your superior. We don't sleep and are about 70K in debt, that gives us the right to push our tastes onto the public. Learn your place and stop asking the barrista what the fuck a pumpkin spice chai latte is, some of us are in a hurry to make renderings like the one you hated, because you have no taste. I have suffered enough all nighters to say that

A-lo on Apr 27, 2011, 9:46:00 AM said...

I appreciate that the developers are at least trying to build something striking. From the rendering, the first building seems rather drab, but how it's realized in person could be quite different. I am digging the second building's design.

Although, I would like to see some more curves on these large block-filling projects. I realize the constraints of DC's building real estate climate necessitate building blocks, but I would think a clever architect and a bold developer could together come up with softer, more elegant edges.

And I disagree with other comments that say we should stick to building safe, pleasing buildings. These Eastbanc buildings aren't replacing charming, historic structures. To me, a great livable city is one that combines plenty of reminders of the past with signs of the present and future, all in a jumbled mix. That's certainly not DC currently, and I wouldn't want DC to lose its character, but I do think we can afford to push the envelope a little more.

Anonymous said...

TEN Arquitectos / Enrique Norten is a known FRAUD. WDG may be able to save this design, this project and this client ...

Anonymous said...

And of the hundreds (yes hundreds)of WDG designed buildings polluting the DC area, which have merit? There is an architect, Norten, and there is a firm doing the construction drawings. I hope that WDG has no influence on the design.

Or was the last post an inside joke?

Anonymous said...

"Squash on fire"?

Anonymous said...

love it! finally interesting looking buildings

Jinziba on Apr 28, 2011, 7:56:00 PM said...

I have admired most of EastBanc's finished projects, The Ritz Carlton Georgetown, Cady's Alley, etc. I supported EastBanc over Toll Brothers. However, 22 West looks like a gun metal gray Navy destroyer and the plans for the West End Library site look like an alien mothership has landed next to the historic Columbia Hospital for Women (The Columbia). Not to mention the historic row houses on the corner of 23rd and L. I'm sure when the FBI Headquarters building on Pennsylvania Ave. was conceived many many years ago there was no thought given to the proximity to the Old Post Office and The U.S. Capitol. I encourage anyone who has never walked or driven from the Willard Hotel down Pennsylvania Ave. toward the Capitol to do so. You will see how these things can go terribly wrong and how irreversable. I agree with the previous post that if this "Transformers" style glass brick gets built, it will elicit the "OMG" reaction but not for the reason that the architect would want. I also think that the architect and the developer need to consider more stone or masonry in the design so that it at least pays tribute to the historic Washington Circle and West End. There is already a brand new all-glass building facing onto Washington Circle and another one, especially one that looks like it has been through and earthquake, will severly change the feel of the neighborhood. In general I like contemporary architecture and given another location, these ultra modern designs might work. But not here. I support a contemporary look for Square 37, too. But, please give us some masonry features and verticle edges to let it blend in.

Anonymous said...

The comments about beauty are interesting. I find both of these quite beautiful, especially the second one.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the second one. The first one could be okay, but seems a little simplistic. I did a search on Norten's work and find a lot of it quite interesting, while a search on WDG turned up a lot of crap. Not sure if the earlier respondent was joking or not.

 

DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template