Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wading into downtown architecture




The wonders of Photoshop, courtesy of Randy Gearheart

I'm not thrilled with the look of the new Wade Trim Building — it seems a little soulless to me — but it's hard to complain too much about any upgrades to downtown Flint. And this Ryan Garza photo of the city's incongruous architectural styles makes Flint's emerging hodgepodge of buildings look sort of appealing. Sometimes no planning at all somehow ties together in a weird, unexpected way. Of course, the Genesee Towers aren't long for this world, so this mismatched triumverate will eventually be a duo. And that might not be such a bad thing either.

Update: Here are a few comments on this post from Flint residents:

slick says: My opinion is that to see it up close and personal it's actually not bad.

There is actually green grass in downtown flint. hopefully it will not turn to weeds.

I can't speak from an architectural point of view, but it certainly looks better than the run-down plywood covered edifice which preceded it.

Downtown is starting to come together...seriously....to hear comments from those residing afar doesn't give it justice imho.

Being one in the trenches here in the good old vehicle city, I can see the change.

Scottr says: I don't understand why people expect a city's downtown to 'blend'. It needs buildings of all ages and styles - new, old, and in between. Flint is finally starting to get that mix, yet out comes all the critics who want nothing but art deco or some such design. I love old buildings, but if all of them were from the early 20th century, downtown would be a very boring place, and no better than an aging strip mall in the suburbs.

Personally, I like it. I think it's got a classic look with a modern flair to it. It's honestly one of the most attractive new builds downtown has seen in 3 decades, including most anything at UM-Flint. And I'm very interested in seeing what the CFGF and Health Plus may do.


Correction: The original version of this post described the Wade Trim as a "refurbished" building. It is an entirely new structure. Thanks to Scott for catching this mistake.

7 comments:

  1. Not sure, Gordie, but seem to me like only the Alucabond (TM) salesman made out on this one.

    Effective Adaptivbe reuse tends to at least notice the architectural style of the building being adapted.

    Also, my adult eye sees it as horrible, but the eight year old boy inside who dearly LOVED the University Club has a very warm spot for the poor neglected Genessee Towers.

    But, as previously noted, I was also fascinated by the Aquarama.

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  2. I gaze on this creation with furrowed brow and must admit, I don't get it.

    Sorry, it does nothing for me.

    Nevertheless, I suppose "new" is better than "abandoned and falling down." Yet, in this instance, not by much.

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  3. First, the Wade-Trim a complete new build, not 'refurbished', or 'adaptive reuse' or even whatever you call what they are doing across the street at Rowe. The original plan was to refurbish a number of buildings, but it was determined that they were structurally unsound and were torn down to build this building. Later, the same was found to be the case for the Copa and the adjoining building, and they were also demolished.

    Second, I don't understand why people expect a city's downtown to 'blend'. It needs buildings of all ages and styles - new, old, and in between. Flint is finally starting to get that mix, yet out comes all the critics who want nothing but art deco or some such design. I love old buildings, but if all of them were from the early 20th century, downtown would be a very boring place, and no better than an aging strip mall in the suburbs.

    Personally, I like it. I think it's got a classic look with a modern flair to it. It's honestly one of the most attractive new builds downtown has seen in 3 decades, including most anything at UM-Flint. And I'm very interested in seeing what the CFGF and Health Plus may do.

    ReplyDelete
  4. my opinion is that to see it up close and personal it's actually not bad.

    there is actually green grass in downtown flint. hopefully it will not turn to weeds.

    i can't speak from an architectural point of view, but it certainly looks better than the run-down plywood covered edifice which preceeded it.

    downtown is starting to come together...seriously....to hear comments from those residing afar doesn't give it justice imoh

    being one in the trenches here in the good old vehicle city, i can see the change.

    also, no coverage on the bikes on the bricks this past weekend there were a lot of bikers in downtown for the show....maybe not as appealing to the masses as the hot rod show earlier in the summer but you can wrap up $20k in a bike without even thinking about it.

    that was off subject, sorry

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  5. Just for the record, I, too, am glad to see such improvements in the heart of the city--with hopes that it will once again be a desirable destination. I believe it is headed in the right direction. Props to those visionaries who are willing to invest their time and treasure in such projects.

    Tastes are subjective. To me, this particular structure looks as if it were created by committee (here recalling the camel being "a horse made by committee" analogy). Architecture evokes feelings--awe, wonder, grace, majesty, utility...whatever. This design causes me to wonder, "What were they thinking?"

    But, I do agree with you, Slick--it looks much better than sheets of plywood.

    "The future lives in Flint!"

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  6. So wait, is that grass where the Vogue building used to be? is that going to stay open space? That could be cool... :)

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  7. I'm fine with the notion of blending all ages and styles in a downtown, however NOT on the same building.

    I am happy to see a new building downtown. When I was last in Downtown Flint on foot, in late August, there was not a lot of positive news.

    However I still find it to be a muddled work at best.

    ReplyDelete

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