National Marrow Donor Program HQ - 524 5th Street North

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby John » May 22nd, 2015, 12:06 pm

I've brought up this argument before, but in areas where there has been significant public funding to enhance infrastructure or create amenities (like parks, renovation of Nicollet Mall, etc.), I do think the standards should be raised for developers to build projects with higher quality and good design. That really is a de facto subsidy which increases the value and desirability of their project.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby FISHMANPET » May 22nd, 2015, 12:10 pm

That may be the case, but a bank has to believe it as well. I think Stanton self-financing has proven that in the realm of projects that are financially feasible, banks are willing to finance only a small portion of those.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby Archiapolis » May 22nd, 2015, 12:31 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:
John wrote: Depending on circumstances, yes it could be. Building a better looking building is going to be more expensive, due to better materials and more expensive design costs. Yes we're in a building boom, but I don't really see any evidence that these developers are experiencing windfall profits from their developments. I'm not sure all of the buildings would pencil out if the budgets were increased to improve the design.

Doesn't mean I'm advocating for bad design, but I don't know, I can see both sides.
Having been in a room with every major developer in town, let's just say that none of these guys are driving used cars.

I'm not anti-capitalist - everybody should go get rich if they can.

I don't know what you need for "evidence" but there are indications all over for the financial health of developers and I think it is very charitable of you to give them the benefit of the doubt. "Not pencilling out" likely means something very different to these guys than it does to Joe Sixpack.

As a principal of a firm once related to me, "These projects are just becoming profit centers" so a lot of the "pencilling out" considerations are being made relative to the ROI that has been promised to investors - forget about banks. It is sad to think the form/content of our city is being driven by the greed of an investor in god knows where.

My point is that the super-heated environment means that if we (as a city) demand better for a site and one developer drops out, that there are going to be three more developers lined up for the opportunity.

In many respects the Vikings Stadium is an interesting study in politics in this regard. There are obviously a lot of factors that went into it but the political left fought pretty hard against subsidizing the stadium (bolstered by public attitudes to the same effect) for a long time UNTIL the recession hit. When NOTHING was being built trade unions were dying for work and unemployment was off the charts etc and politics swung in favor of the Wilfs. In the case of the stadium the politics swung to the idea that "something" (no matter how distasteful) was better than the alternative (continued joblessness, the team moving, etc.).

Sorry to bring up tangential points but economics/politics are germane to project approval and to my point that in a very competitive environment we should be demanding better.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby FISHMANPET » May 22nd, 2015, 12:42 pm

I agree that economics are super relevant to this.

I don't think developers are scraping by but I don't think they're making 100% or more profits on their buildings. They're receiving a strong but reasonable return

The fact of the matter is that sub-par architecture makes money and either the idea that better design would bring more money is true but untested, so investors stick with what they know, or it's just false, and investors follow the money.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby MNdible » May 22nd, 2015, 1:25 pm

Archiapolis,

I don't disagree with you that buildings could/should be better and that developer's wouldn't starve to death. You may not believe it, but I care passionately about the built environment and really wish that we were building better designs than we currently are. I don't necessarily believe that a disappointing design is better than nothing, but I also don't know how you stop a disappointing design from being built.

My questions are these:

What is the vehicle by which the city would demand better designs?
Assuming that a building can be built as-of-right, how does the city tell them that they need nicer materials or "better design" in a given location? And who gets to make that decision? Who determines if the design is good or not?
Just because the economy is good and there are lots of building proposals, how does that change the powers of the city to approve or deny projects?
What if the trade-off for better design is that unaffordable housing becomes even less affordable?
Should architects go on strike until developers shell out more money for better designs?
Why don't developers have a sense of community pride that would be enough to push them to do outstanding design?

If I understood your previous comments, you called me a fatalist, but I don't think you've really explained how exactly you'd change the game. I'd honestly be excited about real answers to this, but it's not enough to just bitch and moan and blame the city. Zoning and Planning is a blunt tool that isn't intended to fix substandard design.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby Archiapolis » May 26th, 2015, 8:03 am

MNdible wrote:
I don't disagree with you that buildings could/should be better and that developer's wouldn't starve to death. You may not believe it, but I care passionately about the built environment and really wish that we were building better designs than we currently are. I don't necessarily believe that a disappointing design is better than nothing, but I also don't know how you stop a disappointing design from being built.
I offer a lot of opinions and I try to back them up with sound logic; I’m not always successful. I also stay away from ad hominem attacks. I can go after people’s opinions pretty aggressively sometimes. However, I refute opinions, not people’s character. I’m glad to hear that you care passionately about the built environment and I don’t think you’d be here (urbanmsp) if you didn’t.

I still think “the urbanists” (maybe you count yourselves among these), need to look beyond JUST the street and think about what a building looks like from, say, a 1/2 block away, an upper level across the street, a tall building, a blimp or the highway. The possibility exists that I need to move AWAY from caring about these things and more towards the street. These are philosophical arguments so I don’t know that we are going to find “the right answer.”
MNdible wrote: My questions are these:

What is the vehicle by which the city would demand better designs?
Neighborhood Meetings, Zoning, Planning Commission, Z & P committee and City Council (in that order)

This sounds trite but let me expand. The “vehicle” is sound but it needs an overhaul (more on that in a minute).
MNdible wrote: Assuming that a building can be built as-of-right, how does the city tell them that they need nicer materials or "better design" in a given location? And who gets to make that decision? Who determines if the design is good or not?
Recently there was an exchange between Tom Fisher (Dean of the College of Design at the U of M) and the city regarding the city’s “design guidelines.” Disclaimer: Tom was on my thesis panel and I GREATLY respect him. However, imho, Tom was misguided in his comments. The fact is that the very rules that he was decrying as contributing to the blandness, etc of multi-family housing were not guiding ANY of the recent housing boom - not one project built at the time of the writing had applied the rules that he was criticizing.

I am not rote on the “old” design guidelines or the “new” ones that Tom was criticizing but I’ve worked on a lot of projects that are under construction or recently built in Minneapolis so I understand the metrics.

Materials:
Much of the common criticisms about the state of recent design relate to use of cement fiberboard (in addition to “too many materials”). If the consensus is that cement fiberboard is an ugly material then it is simple enough for the city to put tighter governance on percentages, locations, etc.

Recently, cement fiberboard manufacturers have changed their recommendations/requirements for their products which have made it more expensive to apply and still be warrantied. This is a reason why there is an uptick in stucco. To put it shortly, stucco is at/near parity with cement fiberboard. Generally, stucco is considered a “quality material” by municipalities and governed differently (more favorably) than cement fiberboard (panels).

Like I said, I’m not rote on Mpls code but metal panel is usually viewed/governed somewhere between cement fiberboard and stucco and this, in my opinion, is ludicrous/stupid/misguided/out-of-date.

I’ve mentioned it in other threads but The Brunsfield (which appears to be universally beloved) uses a metal panel that is in the $24+ per sf (installed) price range. $24/sf is in the price range of a good brick. We are WELL beyond 24 gauge, corrugated, beige, pole barn metal panels. As I said, I’m not rote on the “new” guidelines. Perhaps my frustrations have been addressed since I worked at a big multi-family firm but in my experience the city staff needed to be educated on materials and zoning needed to be updated to address the current state of technology.

I can’t believe I’m about to defend Clark Gassen (the developer on the very recent Linden Hills/Famous Dave’s site) but he made an interesting point in the recent Linden Hills neighborhood meeting when he said, “These are expensive materials.” The form/massing of his recent proposal is one matter but his comment illustrates that *some* consideration needs to be made for the quality/cost of materials. Look at Edgewater (another Clark Gassen project) - that stone is REALLY nice. Look across the street and you see “cultured stone” (i.e. concrete made to “look like” stone) a material that is half the cost and looks half as good. The city can control such things with zoning by mandating percentages, locations, etc. For example, St. Louis Park has an easy to understand list of materials that are considered “Class I” (best), “Class II” (good), “Class III” (mundane) and percentages allowed. They need to update what material goes on what list (metal panel per above) but it’s simple and more objective.

“As-of-right”:
Obviously the massing/height/setbacks are governed by the district and the short answer is that we should be looking at “form based code.” I believe Lisa Bender and others are already exploring form based code.

A longer answer is that the neighborhood meeting process is broken - a few loud voices are being heard and the city has zero presence in neighborhood meetings (another opinion I’ve posted all over these boards).

The neighborhood feedback process is totally broken and needs to be updated to allow input remotely and the city needs to have a representative in place at in-person meetings to put proposals into context. The city has identified growth goals, density goals etc and there are corridors all over the city where density/height/size is not only reasonable but should be strived for. Architects/developers regularly get DESTROYED in neighborhood meetings by loud opponents of projects that are “by right” or allowed with a CUP or PUD and the city is not there to articulate these facts. Instead, architects/developers go and get abused for being greedy jerks who are out to destroy neighborhoods and there is no one there to rebut the claims - the neighborhood meeting process has become farcical and painful (see “Wedgelive”).
MNdible wrote: Just because the economy is good and there are lots of building proposals, how does that change the powers of the city to approve or deny projects?
On lots that the city has control over, we just need to demand better. The lot across from the library is a prime example. In 2007-8, I probably would have welcomed ANY of the proposals for that lot because nothing was being built and everyone I knew was struggling to find work. However, it’s 2015 and there is a massive building boom. I think I’m in the minority on this but I’d rather leave a pockmarked surface lot <gasp> and wait for a GREAT project than take a mediocre project on such a prime lot. At the very least, I would have preferred a longer open period for proposals and allowed more lengthy scrutiny instead of rushing just to get SOMETHING. If the proposals weren’t great, then shut it down until something great DOES emerge. The demand in this area is at/near peak and I think it is a mistake to accept the lowest common denominator. I don’t know if the history/economics is the same but look at the “Multifoods Building” - architecturally, this is a god-awful building and a mentality that is driven by tax revenue, business friendliness, and infill gives rise to this kind of awful architecture.

Again, the “urbanists” on this forum seem to have the following metric for assessing projects: “Is it better than a surface parking lot?” I think that using such a low threshold is a mistake and I think this city deserves better.
MNdible wrote: What if the trade-off for better design is that unaffordable housing becomes even less affordable?
I’m of the opinion that more supply drives down demand and helps to ease affordability across the board but this phenomenon doesn’t completely solve the problem either. The city/county/state need to make affordable housing a priority and legislate to that effect - there is no other way to “fix” the problem of affordability. Mpls is the same as any other good city in this regard. If someone had a silver bullet solution, everyone would use it.
MNdible wrote: Should architects go on strike until developers shell out more money for better designs?
Why don't developers have a sense of community pride that would be enough to push them to do outstanding design?
I’ve said on several other threads, “No architect has ever said, ‘We should use less glass’ or ‘We should use this cheap material over here’ or ‘We need a less active ground level.’ “ History is littered with artists bemoaning their clients and this period is no different. We could never go on strike because architects all think they are smarter than the next one and there is very little consensus, no union, and someone will ALWAYS do a project for a fee.

Also, the developers have two large hammers: “Zoning” and “Financing.” If the city will *allow* cement fiberboard, why do anything different? Some developers take this to an extreme and push this edge to save a penny <really biting my tongue here>. Financing is another matter.

Typically we hear that “the bank will never finance that.” You can’t really push back on it because you’d be calling the developer a liar. So, it goes unstated that “the bank won’t finance that” = “that is expensive and cutting into my profits.”

On the other hand, I witnessed the following first hand:

Meeting between architect, client and financier…We were showing various renderings/design etc and the client was leaning towards a cheaper material that was covering…60% of the building. Financier looks right at the client and says, “I won’t finance this building if you don’t use the better material.” I thought it was one of the craziest things I’d ever heard in a meeting because the financier had basically just told the client that they could have the loan as long as it was a good deal larger than they probably wanted. I had never seen (and haven’t seen since) a financing party pushing a developer to spend more money.

As to your second question, to put it shortly, developers (in my experience) don’t have a sense of community pride to the point that they will take a financial hit to do an amazing project. “Financial hit” is obviously quite broad. Development is a business and people’s jobs are on the line, I get it but as I’ve said, “None of these developers are driving used cars.”

Last point, there are a LOT of good multi-family projects in this country (an important distinction because architecture is valued in a completely different way across the world). Great projects ARE possible but it takes a great team - developer, city, financiers and architects (including landscape/urban design).
MNdible wrote: If I understood your previous comments, you called me a fatalist, but I don't think you've really explained how exactly you'd change the game. I'd honestly be excited about real answers to this, but it's not enough to just bitch and moan and blame the city. Zoning and Planning is a blunt tool that isn't intended to fix substandard design.
If I called you a fatalist, I apologize. I’m the one issuing depressing predictions for downtown east so maybe I was projecting. I don’t know that my answers are “real” but I hope that I’ve gone beyond “bitching and moaning” and offered some ways that we can elevate the design in this city. Thanks for engaging.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby Wedgeguy » May 26th, 2015, 11:59 am

^^^^^^^^ Thanks Arch
That was a good real and I have to say that I'm in agreement with a lot of what is brought up. There is a lot of fixing to be done to right this ship. Also we no longer have developers that seem to have a sense of pride and until they hear that someone does not want to buy their cheap piece of junk, they will do what ever to make a few bucks now over having a project that will remain a true cash cow into the future and fetching top dollar down the road.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby MNdible » May 26th, 2015, 2:09 pm

Thank you for engaging. Don't have time at the moment to respond in detail, but you've got some very good suggestions. My quick observation is that many of the things you're suggesting are real changes, so it may not be fair to bemoan the city approving projects we don't like based on regulations that don't exist yet.

Also, regarding the Nicollet Block project, I think that this is a real difference in subjective opinions. I don't like this building because it's better than a surface parking lot, I like it because I think it has the potential to be a really great building that engages with the city around it more fully than anything else we've seen. (I'll agree that at this point, we're basing this on preliminary drawings and they may change, and I may change my mind.)

I hope that nothing I've said has been misconstrued as an ad hominem attack. I only called you out by name because you're the one pushing this conversation forward, and as I said above, I don't fundamentally disagree with your complaints, but I just don't think the solutions are as easy as you make out.

My suspicion, deep down, is the one and only thing that may ultimately fix our mutual concerns is the increasing cost of scarcer prime land, which will force/justify an increase in quality materials and design.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby Avian » May 26th, 2015, 3:21 pm

Just wanted to say, great post Archiapolis.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
― Plato

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby aeisenberg » May 26th, 2015, 5:30 pm

Avian wrote:Just wanted to say, great post Archiapolis.
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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby Archiapolis » May 27th, 2015, 8:09 am

MNdible wrote:Thank you for engaging. Don't have time at the moment to respond in detail, but you've got some very good suggestions. My quick observation is that many of the things you're suggesting are real changes, so it may not be fair to bemoan the city approving projects we don't like based on regulations that don't exist yet.
Yeah, maybe a lot of my complaints are being addressed “behind the scenes” right now. We have a very urban friendly council right now so my optimism is high. I’ve had great discussions with Bender and Palmisano and it appears that Frey understands how to build a city in 2015.
MNdible wrote: Also, regarding the Nicollet Block project, I think that this is a real difference in subjective opinions.
Fair enough but…
MNdible wrote:I don't like this building because it's better than a surface parking lot, I like it because I think it has the potential to be a really great building that engages with the city around it more fully than anything else we've seen. (I'll agree that at this point, we're basing this on preliminary drawings and they may change, and I may change my mind.)
A piece of the puzzle that I left out of my screed above is follow-up. Who (at the city level) is going back and comparing the drawings that were approved with the finished product? Not to give away too many trade secrets but a LOT of sausage-making (“value engineering”) happens AFTER projects are approved. These developers and architects are so good that they have identified just how little they can actually have detailed, but still produce glossy/slick renderings and get a project approved. Later, as difficulties emerge and “value engineering” has happened, there are downgrades and the materials/finishes/detailing suffers. Who is going back and saying “Wait a minute, you showed this gorgeous stone and this drab, lifeless stone is what we got?” How can we objectively measure renderings versus the “as-builts” and penalize developers for bait and switch? I’d say that someone on city staff needs to understand these issue and inspections/punch list visits need to be made that are not related to life safety but related to aesthetics and construction quality.

How does this relate to the Nicollet Block?

I’ve argued on the Nicollet Block forum that we are seeing a framework for a building - not a building. UP “won” the project with a schematic massing and a more detailed ground level design/renderings etc. My criticisms of “the urbanists” is that they only care about the street and density. The fact that the consensus seems to be that this is a winning project based on nice street level renderings and a tallish glass box blows my mind. What has been shown is not a building. As you pointed out, we don’t know what we are getting and what if the Multi-food building emerges? Can the city rescind the project? I’m not rote on how these things work but it seems like a remote possibility. It is more likely that a lot of complaining/outrage would need to come forward to alter their design - what is our recourse as a city? I’m not over the moon about the street level design - I think it’s unnecessarily complicated and kind of “all over the place.” Without getting into an architecture “crit” let’s just say that this proposal yet again proves my point that developers and architects know exactly what needs to be produced to win a project - people, kids, trees, and green stuff in a rendering.

I don’t think it’s enough to put up an image of an urban playground to get everyone all excited and then say, “Oh yeah, there is going to be a tallish building over there too but it’s not really designed yet…have you seen this urban playground?!”

I don’t want to base approvals on “potential.” I want projects to get approved because they are comprehensively beautiful - street to cornice.
MNdible wrote:I hope that nothing I've said has been misconstrued as an ad hominem attack. I only called you out by name because you're the one pushing this conversation forward, and as I said above, I don't fundamentally disagree with your complaints, but I just don't think the solutions are as easy as you make out.
As far as I know you haven’t made an ad hominem attack and I’m not at all offended. I have no problem with people challenging me specifically - I’m nothing special, I’m just a guy with an opinion so challenge away. I only brought it up because others have been offended when my comments get biting/caustic/ridiculing. Like I said, I go after opinions - not people. In the end, we all probably agree on about 80% of the issues so we are splitting hairs in a way. It’s fun to have philosophical arguments but I try not to be hurtful.

I’m psyched that people care enough about the city to sacrifice their nights/lunch breaks offering opinions about the built environment.
MNdible wrote: My suspicion, deep down, is the one and only thing that may ultimately fix our mutual concerns is the increasing cost of scarcer prime land, which will force/justify an increase in quality materials and design.
Well, I don’t know if anyone has looked at such things but “everything" is owned/controlled by a few parties:
Sherman
Shafer-Richardson
Alatus
United Properties (Pohlad’s)
Opus
Greco
Stanton
Lander Group
City of Minneapolis

I don’t know what you consider “prime land” but I think you have already seen the “top” of the rental market and (brace yourself) it is…Nic on Fifth, Ritz, LPM.

That is why I am so disappointed in the Nicollet Block proposal. It really was the last/best opportunity for something truly unique/tall/iconic<gulp> that the city actually had great control over. 100 Hennepin is a good site (one of the last few in the area) and what is being proposed? Another “5 over 1” cement fiberboard thing - this is “the market” and if we don’t make changes to the way that buildings get developed/approved then we are going to continue to get cement fiberboard buildings. It may already be too late to do anything about this latest boom considering how slowly city wheels move. Any change will probably be too late to effect Nicollet Block, 100 Hennepin, Parking Ramp, 729 Washington (North Loop in general), the Loring Park end of Nicollet…

Lastly, I don't know what was approved for "Be the Match" but I worked at a firm that did some schematic design for these guys and it was eleventy billion times better than this suburban office building with ribbon windows. I didn't even work on the design from our office (at the time) but it was a good building, not this...thing. Right now, it's a failure, maybe it'll get better but I don't see how...

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby Archiapolis » May 27th, 2015, 8:19 am

Wedgeguy wrote:^^^^^^^^ Thanks Arch
That was a good real and I have to say that I'm in agreement with a lot of what is brought up. There is a lot of fixing to be done to right this ship. Also we no longer have developers that seem to have a sense of pride and until they hear that someone does not want to buy their cheap piece of junk, they will do what ever to make a few bucks now over having a project that will remain a true cash cow into the future and fetching top dollar down the road.
You bring up a great point that I didn't really address. The problem is that "people" DO want to buy these things. Nic on Fifth was purchased before it was even done! I know it isn't "apples to apples" but if someone said, "Hey, you should invest in my single family home that I want to build on this site over here. It'll be sold for a tidy profit before it is even finished being constructed", a lot of people would jump at that chance.

As a very smart principal of a firm once said to me, "These projects are just profit centers" investors are FIGHTING to invest in/buy these things and they don't care what they are made of, just that they will fill up, stay full and command a nice continual revenue stream.

Some local developers like to hold their properties and that *should* be a good thing but unfortunately, I've not seen better architecture from these developers as a result.

From a broader view, it is great that private investment sees value in walkable urbanism (yay!) but not great that the boom is going so strongly that we haven't been able to stay ahead of it and demand better architecture/materials (boo!).

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby acs » May 27th, 2015, 8:54 am

Archiapolis wrote: Well, I don’t know if anyone has looked at such things but “everything" is owned/controlled by a few parties:
Sherman
Shafer-Richardson
Alatus
United Properties (Pohlad’s)
Opus
Greco
Stanton
Lander Group
City of Minneapolis

I don’t know what you consider “prime land” but I think you have already seen the “top” of the rental market and (brace yourself) it is…Nic on Fifth, Ritz, LPM.
Sadly I think you're right on your last point. It's going to be sad looking back 50 years from now and remembering the era when the parking lot scars of urban renewal were repaired. The defining architectural feature of the city will be the parking podium. Not because of any unique geography, but purely because of profiteering off of a nationwide city living boom. I can't believe I'm saying this but the Nicollet hotel block proposal is the best of the lot and it is nowhere near up to the potential of the site it will go on. Proposals like that should be the base level for our infill projects not the gold standard.

You're right Archiapolis that the city should have gotten ahead of this a long time ago and held developers accountable. However, overall I hate how they've acted like a bunch of rubes who get giddy and give away the keys to the city as soon as money starts to flow into the city for once in a long time. Then there's the whole A$$F*#%king the city took from the wilfs which is on a whole 'nother level.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby MNdible » May 27th, 2015, 9:07 am

No. We'll look back on these years as a time period when mostly uninspiring architecture that mostly avoided making doltish urban moves stitched back together the downtown fabric and made the city more livable than it's ever been. And also set the stage for even better things ahead.

I agree with Archiapolis that there are things that we can and should be doing better, but the sky is not falling.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby RailBaronYarr » May 27th, 2015, 11:00 am

^ Yeah. I know this board is fairly small and there's actually a wealth of knowledge (some deep dive more on roads vs transit vs architecture) and we all have pet ideas or policies we want to push (and most of them would probably be good). But in general, 2015 Urban America should focus less on getting urban design perfect or great (especially by regulation) and more on the basics of getting transportation and affordability right. Our transit system is seriously failing most people right now (with even minor aBRT rollout taking forever). Minneapolis is finally starting to implement serious bike infrastructure (beyond the off-street paths we've had forever), but other places are struggling to do the same. Our zoning codes limit smaller-scale no frills infill and the process we make bigger developers go through in places where 6 story apartments make more than sense may push away some of the potential. We urbanists may not like it, but millions of Americans live perfectly happy lives in vinyl-sided single family homes set back 30' from the street with no sidewalks and huge ugly white garages facing those who do pass by. It wouldn't kill us to let this not-so-pretty infill continue as-is to add people and businesses back to our core neighborhoods and slowly roll in some urban design elements (while loosening others as a tradeoff). Just my take.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby FISHMANPET » May 27th, 2015, 12:43 pm

Yeah, in the grand scheme of things, I don't think people actually care about design that much. Sorry to any architects, but stated vs expressed preferences etc etc. A vast majority of people live in places that look like absolute trash garbage and they love it. Nobody cares.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby HiawathaGuy » June 1st, 2015, 2:39 pm

Took these from the north & west sides of the building before stopping at Fulton Saturday night.
I thought the building melded well with the surrounding warehouse-style buildings. I get the whole "suburbs" vibe, but it's really not that bad in person, IMO.
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FISHMANPET
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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby FISHMANPET » June 1st, 2015, 2:56 pm

It looks better with some windows. I saw this when pulling off of 94 onto Olson Memorial Drive without the windows and from a far it looked kind of ghastly. Especially in comparison to the Ford Center next door which I'm sure was built with whatever was cheap and durable at the time with little to no attention paid to aesthetics and oh my God it's like nobody has any idea what the hell they're talking about.

mattaudio
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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby mattaudio » June 1st, 2015, 3:02 pm

Reminds me of the old Brown Institute / Minneapolis Schools building at Hi-Lake that's about to get torn down.

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Re: National Marrow Donor Program HQ - (524 Fifth Street Nor

Postby nordeast homer » June 1st, 2015, 3:14 pm

It makes my eyes sad.
I wasn't expecting the Taj Mahal, but it leaves so much to be desired. I swear even the Shapco building had more character than this thing does.


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