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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Box Me In

posted by on March 14 at 11:19 AM

These are new homes near the corner of 21 and Alder. They are not great but certainly much more interesting than the most of the new townhomes that are under construction or recently completed in the Central District.

But check out this new home in Tabiago, Italy.



How sad even this decent local effort seems when compared to actual architecture.


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How come you never show pics of the new homes that are just up the street from the Rain City Video in Fremont - box plus big windows.

Call me when you leave the Hill, ok?

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 14, 2007 11:31 AM

I like the one that looks like a machine gun bunker from the side. Very urban!

Posted by MvB | March 14, 2007 11:33 AM

I like the one that looks like a machine gun bunker from the side. Very urban!

Posted by MvB | March 14, 2007 11:34 AM

aah, i see you think actual architecture means a pretty picture. nothing to do with space or design

Posted by alto | March 14, 2007 11:37 AM

I'm a huge fan of the new pre-fab modern box houses.

Posted by monkey | March 14, 2007 11:37 AM

...they're almost identical. Do you just like buildings better the farther away they are?

Posted by gfish | March 14, 2007 11:39 AM

Ah, yes. "Real architecture" is easily identified by its willingness to sacrifice function at the altar of form. Case in point, the view from the balcony in these photos is obviously reduced by the walls placed on either side. Those extended walls are 'necessary' to the boxlike form of the home but not to its structural integrity; they also add unnecessary materials and block the view. Nice to look at, if that happens to be your taste, but I wouldn't want to own it.

Posted by Archae Texture | March 14, 2007 11:50 AM

Those Seattle ones are pretty cool I think. Not really a fair comparison though, as the Italian building's intention looks to be as a modern mansion, and the Seattle homes look pointed at the condo/loft market.

Posted by Dougsf | March 14, 2007 12:17 PM

Your dislike of the local version has something to do with the garage, I'll wager.

Posted by D Huygens | March 14, 2007 12:20 PM

The Italian one looks like a file cabinet when viewed from the side. Ew.

Posted by Tiz | March 14, 2007 12:24 PM

That's a beautiful home design, but it seems sorely out of place in the Italian countryside. I don't know, maybe the fact that it's an unexpected design is what makes it so striking though.

Posted by Carollani | March 14, 2007 12:25 PM

"the view from the balcony in these photos is obviously reduced by the walls placed on either side"

-- agreed, aside from that... i dig it though.

Posted by Aaro)))n Edge | March 14, 2007 12:41 PM

Reminds me of those hideous older, boxy houses scattered around the Eastside.

Posted by Jeff | March 14, 2007 1:50 PM

@7 - The view is blocked by the walls, yes, but that's the view both in and out. From straight on, the Italian house looks a bit like living on a stage, thus the extended side walls are most likely meant to block others' views directly into the space.

The seattle houses, on the other hand, have almost no windows. Even on the front there's very little connection without the outside world. What a depressing building.

Posted by jimmy | March 14, 2007 2:08 PM

Both examples have more design and thought than the crappy townhouses going up in the backyard of the house across the alley from me in Georgetown.

The BACKYARD. They are putting three 3-story townhouses 6 feet behind the existing house, on a single lot. ugh.

Posted by diggum | March 14, 2007 2:10 PM

The design is definitely a step above the average new home but the innards are a bit chilly for my taste. I'd expect a receptionist to greet me everytime I walked through the door...that is if I could afford the $605,000 pricetag.

Posted by Red Wendy | March 14, 2007 2:14 PM

not a bad garage... okay, they do actuallyhave one space per unit. but i find these rather nice modern attempts. a step in the right direction if not a bit pricey.

Posted by infrequent | March 14, 2007 3:37 PM

they're better than the POS going up across the street from my house - which has 4 stories and an ELEVATOR.

and it blocks my friggin view of steven's pass.

the townhomes being wedged onto lots everywhere possible in seattle are dictated by 3 things:
1. the zoning allows it - L4 lots, not SF.
2. property laws dictate it - 'fee simple' townhomes (your lot runs from the ground to the sky) are much less risky than condos (units stacked over each other - lawsuit city)
3. fear - aesthetics indended to frighten as few people as possible; they may not LIKE the faux-craftsman detailing, but they can accept it.

garages for people.

Posted by Max Solomon | March 14, 2007 4:18 PM

and let me add:

the more townhomes-wedged-on-a-lot that developers put up, the more capital they have to repeat the process. it snowballs until we all decide to collapse the economy to stop everything decent & good in seattle from being destroyed.

Posted by Max Solomon | March 14, 2007 4:21 PM

I kinda like the sleek, clean, simple box shape, in concept anyway. I'd have to see the inside before I could say whether I really like it or not. I didn't care for the italian one, it does look like a bunker.

Plus, home's should be built in context, and while a snap shot of a ultra modern home might look cool at first, it really depends on where the house is located and what the surrounding environment is like. I don't know if a house like that would work as well in seattle as it would in say some european city, or San Francisco. What's the point of having skylights and atriums, for example, if it is raining all the time?

The picture is neat, but I'm not convinced I would ever buy a place like that, even if I could afford it. I guess I'm just skeptical.

Posted by brandon h | March 14, 2007 4:51 PM

I dunno, watching them go up for the past year or so didn't make me interested in them at all, as the construction looked pretty crappy. And at 600K? At 21st and Alder? Methinks it's time to sell my place a few blocks away.

Posted by dj girth | March 14, 2007 5:17 PM

Jimmy @14-

For Christ's sake, the fucking front windows open up like garage doors. How much more connected can you get? Can you do that to your windows?

Plus, the ones in back have green roofs (lawns, etc.).

You miserable fucks, let's see your designs.


PS: Charles, time to get a new camera.

Posted by cochise | March 14, 2007 5:26 PM

I actually love the openness surrounding the Italian home.

I'm also a big fan of concrete, wood and glass as well as the general boxiness of the whole thing.

I'll take it, any day!

Posted by truthseeker | March 14, 2007 8:47 PM

They all make me nervous. Look like targets for droogies out of A Clockwork Orange.

Posted by mirror | March 14, 2007 9:41 PM

It's an unfair comparison. The "real architecture" is done for a suburban-style home where the bunker-house sits isolated on a relatively large lot. The Seattle houses (probably much cheaper than the similar Italian example) are placed into a dense urban fabric.

But, even then, the Seattle houses would look better if they, too, were carefully photographed at dusk on a clear day with all the interior lights blazing through un-curtained windows.

The Seattle houses are cheap knock-offs of an expensive one-off style of "real" architecture. Pretty good knockoffs, though, given all the tradoffs.

Posted by Robinev | March 15, 2007 12:45 PM

Hi Jim. You letter i received. Thanks! Photos is GREAT!!!!

Posted by Slim | March 20, 2007 6:28 AM

Hi Jim. You letter i received. Thanks! Photos is GREAT!!!!

Posted by Slim | March 20, 2007 8:59 AM

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