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  #121  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 1:03 AM
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Tom Servo, why do you like this bldg so much?
I'll give you a short summarization of my thoughts:

The base is my favorite part. It's clean and sophisticated without exceeding a human scale. I like the airy, all glass aesthetic and how open it is to the street. I think it is important that buildings of this size don't overwhelm the human element as much as is possible; buildings of this size should be designed so as to minimize their size and immensity. Accordingly, I think it is exceedingly difficult to design tall buildings well, as is evident in far too many skyscrapers designs city-wide. This base does well to mitigate the hulking and dominating presence of a 600 foot tall tower and also serves well, visually, as an amenities block.

As a whole, I like the visual separation of the tower's program. The geometric break between its residential portion and both its hotel sections are well illustrated in three separate sections and then a fourth distinct visual break again at the bottom. I like this. I like how well defined the program is while maintaining a clean, cohesive look and feel. Form follows program, right? Isn't that the prevailing modernist design attitude today?

Anyway, I'm a fan of simplistic, modern design, and this is exactly that. I'm a fan of bKL's work, as I've said many times before. I except this building will maintain the details and execution we saw with 345. And if 345 E Wacker is evidence of bKL's simplistic mastery of material, then I except no less refined elegance in this tower.
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  #122  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 12:34 PM
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^ Exactly what I thought...

Anyhow, here's a question: what's wrong with overwhelming the pedestrian? There is always talk about having tall towers without "disrupting the human scale". Yes, I believe active street level activity is important (retail, for example), but beyond that, why is it wrong to have towers right up against the street?

Humans are feeble & whiny creatures. They are annoying, they are a distraction. They complain too much and talk too much about their feelings. They really don't deserve special consideration. Humans should be made to feel tiny & irrelevant. The greatest cities in the world always make people feel small. I want to feel small, because that makes me feel that the city I'm in has endless possibilities, and that I really have to strive to make it to the top. That's how one feels in Manhattan, and it works to that city's advantage.
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  #123  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 1:33 PM
LouisVanDerWright LouisVanDerWright is offline
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Nothing is wrong with overwhelming the pedestrian, but if every building in the city did that the city would be a total mess. There's certainly a place for that when it comes to monumental designs like Aon Building where the entire point of the design is to be monolithic, but if all the buildings around Aon Building were similarly brutal to the pedestrian, the area would end up totally inhospitable. The best part about this design is that it looks like it will do a very good job of filling in the last gap in this area with something that will prevent this from feeling like an overgrown office park.
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  #124  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 2:07 PM
Notyrview Notyrview is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
I'll give you a short summarization of my thoughts:

The base is my favorite part. It's clean and sophisticated without exceeding a human scale. I like the airy, all glass aesthetic and how open it is to the street. I think it is important that buildings of this size don't overwhelm the human element as much as is possible; buildings of this size should be designed so as to minimize their size and immensity. Accordingly, I think it is exceedingly difficult to design tall buildings well, as is evident in far too many skyscrapers designs city-wide. This base does well to mitigate the hulking and dominating presence of a 600 foot tall tower and also serves well, visually, as an amenities block.

As a whole, I like the visual separation of the tower's program. The geometric break between its residential portion and both its hotel sections are well illustrated in three separate sections and then a fourth distinct visual break again at the bottom. I like this. I like how well defined the program is while maintaining a clean, cohesive look and feel. Form follows program, right? Isn't that the prevailing modernist design attitude today?

Anyway, I'm a fan of simplistic, modern design, and this is exactly that. I'm a fan of bKL's work, as I've said many times before. I except this building will maintain the details and execution we saw with 345. And if 345 E Wacker is evidence of bKL's simplistic mastery of material, then I except no less refined elegance in this tower.
Thanks Tom, the visual separation argument you make is a good one. I'm still nonplussed about your take on aqua - i think it's view-maximizing balconies are essence of form follows function, too, in this work, eat, play, shop, shit world - but i'll leave it at that.
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  #125  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 4:52 PM
SamInTheLoop SamInTheLoop is offline
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Humans are feeble & whiny creatures. They are annoying, they are a distraction. They complain too much and talk too much about their feelings. They really don't deserve special consideration. Humans should be made to feel tiny & irrelevant. The greatest cities in the world always make people feel small. I want to feel small, because that makes me feel that the city I'm in has endless possibilities, and that I really have to strive to make it to the top. That's how one feels in Manhattan, and it works to that city's advantage.




Love this. Part of me agrees with it wholeheartedly. The remainder just thinks it's funny.
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  #126  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 4:53 PM
SamInTheLoop SamInTheLoop is offline
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Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright View Post
Is there a forum for hotels? I feel like there should be separate website dedicated to people who are super nerdy about hospitality like some are about architecture, cities, urban planning, fashion, airplanes, whatever, etc. out there somewhere.

Surely there must be a good one out there somewhere??
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  #127  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 4:56 PM
SamInTheLoop SamInTheLoop is offline
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There are a lot of brands trolling for sites here, but even more existing brands with an extant presence here that are looking to cash in further on the Chicago hotel boom.

Very true. Just as an example, but maybe exhibit A is Hyatt. Despite some of Panderman O'Killian's most strident efforts to stymie multiple proposals that were/are to house them, they are certainly (and my guess is we're going to be in for yet more from them) expanding their downtown footprint....
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  #128  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 5:43 PM
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^ Exactly what I thought...

Anyhow, here's a question: what's wrong with overwhelming the pedestrian? There is always talk about having tall towers without "disrupting the human scale". Yes, I believe active street level activity is important (retail, for example), but beyond that, why is it wrong to have towers right up against the street?
For the same reason that a bunch of retailers haven't joined billy goat tavern in setting up shop on the lower streets of Chicago.

It's not necessarily 'wrong' but just like when designing living and working spaces the intention is often toward creating open naturally lit welcoming spaces and building right up against the street doesn't necessarily facilitate that. If you think of any street in the loop compared to Michigan Ave. just in terms of the built environment I think the majority of people would say that Michigan Ave is much more warm / inviting and the loop is much more imposing.
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  #129  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 6:37 PM
SamInTheLoop SamInTheLoop is offline
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Originally Posted by wierdaaron View Post
Yeah, exactly. They took that SOM expertise with steel and glass at huge scale and offered it to a wider market. It seems like SOM is only interested in signature, world-class projects at this point, so bKL offers a very similar style and level of refinement to smaller (but still fairly large) projects.

Another important distinction though has to do with program/property type. bKL - although it is certainly getting into other programs such as hospitality, office and eductional, has I think it's pretty fair to state, done to-date primarily residential. SOM I'm sure does some residential, but I believe they are still - as they have always been - much more geared to office, with a propensity for larger, and of course in some cases, showpiece, commercial projects. Of course they engage in other program types as well....
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  #130  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 8:33 PM
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what's wrong with overwhelming the pedestrian? There is always talk about having tall towers without "disrupting the human scale". Yes, I believe active street level activity is important (retail, for example), but beyond that, why is it wrong to have towers right up against the street?

chicago.peninsula.com

wikimedia

Note the brutish and imposing size and scale of "Chicago Place" in relationship to its neighbors. Sitting next to the well designed Peninsula block and the old water tower, it looks cartoonish. What's worse, the feel of the building from the street is almost suffocating.


wikimedia

Here again, note the imposing and crude size disparity between a skyscraper designed in a computer and 19th century design by hand. Poorly designed towers like this smother everything around them and create an uninviting streetscape.


wikimedia

Across the street again. It's not just about height; it's everything to do with size and volumes. The Hancock Center is over 1,000 feet tall, and yet it feels far more inviting than the awful, forbidding block that the Water Tower tower sits atop.


meganandtimmy

It's hard to capture in a google image search, but its base does well to offset its imposing size as it's only a single story and visually separated from the rest of the tower. Also, the tower is set back into the center of the block and tapers in, which further helps offset its massive feel.

Anyway, my point is simply this. Poorly designed buildings do far more damage to cities than just look ugly.

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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Humans are feeble & whiny creatures. They are annoying, they are a distraction. They complain too much and talk too much about their feelings. They really don't deserve special consideration. Humans should be made to feel tiny & irrelevant. The greatest cities in the world always make people feel small. I want to feel small, because that makes me feel that the city I'm in has endless possibilities, and that I really have to strive to make it to the top. That's how one feels in Manhattan, and it works to that city's advantage.


Okay.

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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
That's how one feels in Manhattan, and it works to that city's advantage.
Don't be so daft. Manhattan is one of the best designed urban centers in the world. They even realized the danger of canonizing their streets and killing the human scale that they passed a zoning law restricting the design of their skyscrapers. That was 100 years ago. Your entire post is just belligerently silly.

...
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  #131  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 8:45 PM
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Chicago Place is pomo junk and Water Tower Place is a war crime. No more "Place" places, please.
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  #132  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 9:34 PM
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Chicago Place is pomo junk and Water Tower Place is a war crime. No more "Place" places, please.
I'm digging my own grave by saying this, but I wouldn't be opposed to completely covering the Water Tower's base in digital ads...




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  #133  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2014, 10:40 PM
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Maybe they can dress it up as a better building for Halloween.
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  #134  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 1:53 AM
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The human scale works in three dimensions, not just one... It's not all about making buildings shorter.

Bertrand Goldberg's Astor Tower is a great example... The open space at the bottom of the building is human scaled, even though the tower is ridiculously, beanpole-style tall for its tiny site. That tiny site is also human-scaled, and lends a fine-grained feel to the tower that helps it fit into the neighborhood.


src
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  #135  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 12:39 PM
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^ Citicorp center too, right? I didn't even know about that tower's awesome cantilever until you mentioned it. I'm gonna take a trip to see it soon.
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  #136  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 8:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright View Post
Nothing is wrong with overwhelming the pedestrian, but if every building in the city did that the city would be a total mess. There's certainly a place for that when it comes to monumental designs like Aon Building where the entire point of the design is to be monolithic, but if all the buildings around Aon Building were similarly brutal to the pedestrian, the area would end up totally inhospitable. The best part about this design is that it looks like it will do a very good job of filling in the last gap in this area with something that will prevent this from feeling like an overgrown office park.

should we really design buildings to escape from...well, feeling like a building? zero lot lines is what makes the city feel like a city (granted, we don't want blank walls and zero activiation..)...we cannot out-suburb the suburbs...

when the city gets to be too much, there will always be a patch of shorter buildings...or a park for refuge.
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  #137  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 9:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wierdaaron View Post
Chicago Place is pomo junk and Water Tower Place is a war crime. No more "Place" places, please.
Ontario Place is a pretty decent design, said no one ever.
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  #138  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 9:27 PM
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should we really design buildings to escape from...well, feeling like a building? zero lot lines is what makes the city feel like a city (granted, we don't want blank walls and zero activiation..)...we cannot out-suburb the suburbs...

when the city gets to be too much, there will always be a patch of shorter buildings...or a park for refuge.
You mean should we really design buildings for humans?
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  #139  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 10:18 PM
LouisVanDerWright LouisVanDerWright is offline
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should we really design buildings to escape from...well, feeling like a building? zero lot lines is what makes the city feel like a city (granted, we don't want blank walls and zero activiation..)...we cannot out-suburb the suburbs...
Maybe, but we can also build zero lot lines at ground level and then have set backs above.

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when the city gets to be too much, there will always be a patch of shorter buildings...or a park for refuge.
Tell that to NYC, Tokyo, or Shanghai. Chicago's downtown is rapidly headed towards a new reality where it will be a lot less like River North circa 2008 and a lot more like the Loop circa 2014. The patches of shorter buildings are dwindling and we aren't exactly adding many refuges. I'm all for as much density as possible, but we have to keep the bases of these buildings relatable to pedestrians or we risk building a giant version of Dubai's Marina: massive density, but completely sterile.
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  #140  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2014, 11:04 PM
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^ Citicorp center too, right? I didn't even know about that tower's awesome cantilever until you mentioned it. I'm gonna take a trip to see it soon.
Yeah, I have a thing for this particular design strategy. It's a great way to have your cake and eat it too: skyscrapers and much-needed public space.
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