Comment of the day: Visual ambiguity

“I think this sort of architecture is coming from the desire to do something interesting with balconies. There are too many new construction condo buildings with balconies on the front that just create these overwhelming horizontal shelves. This is an attempt to break up that massing by having the strong horizontals blend into vertical elements. This creates visual ambiguity, and doesn’t give your eyes a simple place to rest in the composition…”

“It’s ridiculous to say the use of brick is exclusively related to the fire protection requirements of the Chicago Building Code. There are literally hundreds of materials that can be used. But if you try to get, say, a rain-screen metal panel building built in a typical North Side neighborhood, you can expect to make waves with the neighbors, block clubs, Alderman’s zoning committee, etc.

I’d love to see the architecture of low-rise condos in Chicago lifted to a higher level, but the economics ususally don’t work out for developers. We have a hard enough time convincing clients to use a curtain wall system instead of a window wall system on large towers with hundreds of units! Even Donald Trump skimped on his curtain wall, opting for the ugly Chinese glass you see on the Trump Tower today. It’s sad that the city is getting mucked up by a bunch of bland, uninspiring, condo buildings, but the economics of building housing is the major culprit.”

UptownR, in two separate comments, lamenting architectural trends in low-rise condo developments and challenging Sheridan B‘s assertion that brick balconies are popular because they are made of non-combustible material

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