Saturday, March 10, 2007

Something missing?

Stonebridge - 2222 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland 44113

Walking around this recently completed apartment complex on the West Bank of the Flats, one wonders how many members of the design and construction team overlooked these enormously visible corners and crevices (or lack thereof)...

In defense of the construction team, I would like to speculate several reasons why it looks like pieces of building are missing:

1. The construction and design team foresaw the natural expansion of face brick as it gains moisture. I would suggest that at least three inches between the face of each wall should accommodate this expansion nicely. (Make sure that insulation fills the gap and remains visible as an indicator of the gradual expansion process)

2. LEED points can be earned for creating habitats for critters of the urban environment. In particular, hornets, ants, and Lake Erie seagulls are provided a warm home for their families.

3. No one really walks anymore. The apartment complex contains garages internal to every building, therefore its residents prefer attention to the interiors of their home and really don't see the outside of the building at fewer than 30 miles per hour or a few hundred feet away. In fact, Phase 13 of the complex will project a holigram on a CMU box, because no one really notices materiality anyway.

As a former residential painter, I particularly admire the skill of this project's artists. I would have never thought to two-tone the soffit AND paint the cast stone white.

This is what happens when an incapable design and construction team tries to build an angular and "patchwork" building. Inevitably, no one knows how to detail areas where materials and faces adjoin one another.