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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

...in the details

The new Marriott Hotel rising on Jefferson Avenue near downtown St. Louis is a prime example of "architecture-by-numbers": something that may look good on paper but turns out to be hideously banal. (I don't think this building looks good on paper -- there's no nuance to its lines and its site is parking-dominated.) The building's so-so buff brick base is complete and now the upper floors are being covered in stucco that will no doubt be painted the red that the drawings show. On the renderings, that red area could be brick -- there are no fine details drawn.

(I'll try to find an image of the architectural renderings to post here.)

When assessing the appropriateness of new construction to an older urban area, don't trust renderings of buildings. Look at the materials specifications.

In those specifications lie the code of the city's decline. We should demand better.

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