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Why are Condos Ugly? - The Thread

Northern Light

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UT has had previous threads on this subject, though none recent.

But I stumbled across a new You Tube video that seeks to answer the above question; and I quite enjoyed it.

I thought it was humourous, easy to understand, and very much on point.

I gather this is the first of many videos on this subject from Paige Saunders.

I look forward to seeing the rest.

*****

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*****

Of note, the poster is pro-condo, and pro-intensification. His motive is essentially asking how can we do this (condos) in such a way that we can get more built, more easily.

Core thesis, clad buildings w/warm coloured traditional materials and you can build up to 25% more density and people will complain less and Nimbyism will decline.

There's more in there than that, and :I recommend viewing it; and would look forward to commentary from others.
 
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Undead

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Without having watched the video, I would use the following as a bare minimum check/wishlist for condo design:

- Fewer mullions and transoms
- Highly reflective glass with a rich colour
- Colour and texture at ground level

There's much more, of course. But I think the above is a good place to start for creating inoffensive background/infill buildings.
 

Northern Light

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Without having watched the video, I would use the following as a bare minimum check/wishlist for condo design:

- Fewer mullions and transoms
- Highly reflective glass with a rich colour
- Colour and texture at ground level

There's much more, of course. But I think the above is a good place to start for creating inoffensive background/infill buildings.

Not a bad start; but watch the video! LOL

Its only 16 minutes.

I've been looking forward to hearing some views on his ideas.
 

lenaitch

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Not being an urbanite I have no dog in the hunt. Like they say about art, I don't know architecture or urban design, but 'know what I like'. He makes a number of valid points and I suppose I lean to the more traditional design and claddings (although I don't think I've ever seen anything other that a SFH clad in vinyl). No doubt there are cost considerations for the builder, but I dislike the trend to massive glass facades, and there have been some concerns with the long-term durability of some of the installation methods.

If nothing else, at least there is now discussion and consultation, civic engagement and a nod to architectural style (whether one agrees with it or not). Growing up in the '60s, apartment buildings in my area were all butt-ugly rectangles of brick broken only by balconies and windows.

It should come as little surprise that folks would agree to a less favourable design in return for more amenities, given the same price point. Whether a building is less appealing on the outside takes second seat to how it may be experienced on the inside.

The bottom line for me is, does the building sit into its surroundings. I have seen cottages in Muskoka that are flat-roofed boxes of glass and steel that no more fit into the environment than a log cabin would in Rosedale.
 

MisterF

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These conversations frequently get into cost but I think that misses the point. Good design doesn't have to be expensive. Look at the Distillery District for example, one of the most popular and sought after parts of the city (especially at this time of the year). It wasn't built as an expensive showpiece, but as a run of the mill industrial complex. I'd say the problem is more in design philosophy than cost. And it's not limited to architecture or condos.
 

Northern Light

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These conversations frequently get into cost but I think that misses the point. Good design doesn't have to be expensive. Look at the Distillery District for example, one of the most popular and sought after parts of the city (especially at this time of the year). It wasn't built as an expensive showpiece, but as a run of the mill industrial complex. I'd say the problem is more in design philosophy than cost. And it's not limited to architecture or condos.

Certain quality materials can cost $$$; certain choices are more expensive merely because they are custom at the moment. (not intrinsically so, just not currently mass manufactured)

But lots of good materials are cost effective; and lots of designs that are well received aren't particularly elaborate.

There appear to be two distinct non-cost factors, one is architecture/design philosophy from an intentional perspective (for simplicity's sake, lets just say material pallet as an example ) ; the other
is ability to execute.
 

lenaitch

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These conversations frequently get into cost but I think that misses the point. Good design doesn't have to be expensive. Look at the Distillery District for example, one of the most popular and sought after parts of the city (especially at this time of the year). It wasn't built as an expensive showpiece, but as a run of the mill industrial complex. I'd say the problem is more in design philosophy than cost. And it's not limited to architecture or condos.

I don't know the costs involved in renovating the District, but sometimes the cost to retrofit and modernize older structures can exceed tearing it down and starting over. Specialized engineering to meld old with new, satisfying modern requirements and standards, upgrading old elements to be retained, etc. My former employer gutted an old (1920s-ish) building to the walls and repurposed it and the end cost was guestimated to be about twice what it would have cost to pull it down and build new. Whoever was behind the Distillery District should be commended.
 

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