Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One of these things does not belong...

Despite the expected accolades from the typical (seemingly uninterested) parties one should start to question the validity or recreating/reinventing an urban streetscape without attempting to solve the continued issued of updating and streamlining infrastructure. This particular photo is a little late being taken over the summer when the Euclid Corridor was having it's sidewalk installed around East 9th and Euclid. Next to the Porta-john are two of the many above ground electrical cabinets which pepper and infringe upon the sidewalk adding to the massively uncoordinated hodgepodge of obsticles pedestrian are expected to avoid. One wonders from where did these sudden metal stalewarts emerge? Well, most of them used to be located within underground vaults, out of site and out of the way. Perhaps (admittidly) a little more difficult to access for maintenance and no doubt more expensive but I am curious what inherent statement is being proclaimed. Either Cleveland doesn't give a shit about it's appearance or Cleveland is too imcompetant to coordinate a streetscape project that involves ONE STREET. Not a huge city masterplan, not a neighborhood redevelopment plan but one freakin' street.

Even Public Square, that celebrated "image" of the city, arguably Cleveland's front door (if one were to take public transportation to get downtown or park in the copious adjacent surface parking) is randomly peppered with unattractive metal cabinets, usually positioned in such a way as to form a cohesive chokepoint with lamp posts.

Some may be concerned that SBS is overly sensitive about this but to be honest SBS is relatively sick of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio's management insulting good taste, competence and logic by continuously rushing to poor decisions or simply not caring. It says nothing positive for our region or inhabitants if this is us "putting our best foot forward". In fact it makes us look like a bunch of unsophisticated asses.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Finer points...

After reading Mr. Litt’s high praise for the re
cent work at CSU designed by CBLH, a colleague and I decided to share in his joy. I will not comment on the design diarrhea as this is not the forum for discussion of bad taste.

It does preface these curious details over the doors that leave one wondering if anyone was actually paying attention when this project was designed and constructed. Someone obviously took the time to draw this detail somewhere in the documents with no actual thought for how it would be realized in the field.

I am not sure what the intention is, as they do not align with anything, and are resolved quite poorly at the head return. While these will not lead to water infiltration, or a poor thermal seal, they are an insult to the design profession, and gypsum board contractors.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Water flows which way?

Here's a head-scratcher. The new crosswalk from Tower City (Higbee) east across Ontario has an interesting angle to it. The sidewalk in front of Higbee slopes down to the west and the crosswalk ramp is placed at the proper angle to the sidewalk, but not the crosswalk. In short, the ramp is nearly level and when it rains, it fills up with water. Here's a picture during today's deluge. - July 9th, 2008

We have noticed this in quite a few spaces around the city. For some reason the curb cuts for crosswalks are usually the lowest part of the street (because the road is crowned for runoff but also because no attempt is made to pitch away from the cuts) so water and slush collect there, impeding travel for pedestrians. One would think that careful consideration would be made to keep crosswalks dry and clear of standing water, snow, slush, mud, anything that people would not want to step in since, as a general rule, its main purpose if for people to walk in that location.

SBS should also comment that no one on the staff is a professional engineer in any manner however we do know that water goes what way? Downhill. These curb cuts should be either designed or constructed with that in mind.

On a completely unrelated note we at SBS received message that the Key Bank overhangs may be resultant of having a "Key Bank style" that includes the use of overhangs whether needed or not.

When Fire Codes Attack!

again, not really a bad detail but relevant. these photos are taken inside the building and housing department at city hall. both are at the top of a 5 story path of egress. these are not rated doors and the building was built prior to such codes. however, a closed glass door would certainly do more to prevent fire and smoke spread than one propped open creating a stack effect. one would think that the department who enforces the current codes, under the general parameters of protecting its citizens, would adhere to the standards they are enforcing.

They are using blocks to keep the doors open because the doors are on closers to create at least some level of protection? Maybe? Is it better to enforce the codes or is it better to understand why certain ones exist in the first place? Are you supposed to use question marks at the end of rhetorical questions?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hang over or overhang

I was told about this occurrence but didn't believe it could possibly exist until I had seen it with mine own eyes. Apparently the Key Bank along Euclid Chester Avenue around East 36th suffers from such low sun angles (as opposed to the rest of the city) that they not only used an overhang but also outfitted each window with its very own awning.
Let us ponder this for a minute. At what point did someone look at the elevations of the building (which HAD to have shown the overhangs) and thought, "You know what this building needs? Awnings under the overhangs!"
"That's SO avant-garde!" exclaims the owner or whomever was being asked to verify the decision. "Key Bank branch #458 will be the banking icon of the CENTURY!"

"It's ironic enough to be hip." murmured the unpaid intern deciding to later write about it on his myspace page or whatever kids write in these days.

The part that concerns me is I almost wonder if the awnings were a requirement of some absurd zoning restriction that necessitates awnings over the windows of all commercial properties. This would also mean that the architect/owner/builder decided not to even broach a variance but instead just gave up and built the thing as specified. I could further speculate on why this mess occurred but would rather just forget it for now. It has already garnered too much attention.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Did the city only pay for half?

...located on the south side of Euclid, west of 150 East Euclid, 44115. Why do the bricks make this strange detour? Earlier in the year it was even stranger as they did a good job of merging the two brick patterns toward the 2nd street alley...I had been waiting to post these photos mostly because someone had convinced me that when the bank had moved in they were going to install some sort of ATM vestibule or something on the concrete. Well, the bank is in and the concrete part of the walk still lay exposed.
I have not received a decent explanation of why the brick is treated this way, why the brick walk doesn't go all the way to the building?

Seriously, what the heck?