Wednesday, May 21, 2008

15th and Denny vs. 12th and John (and a little philosophy)

Row 5!

Please pardon the exclamation point; I'm just excited that this new reactionary townhome "5-pack," as Hugeasscity calls them, finally has a name and a price. Row 5, from the mid-600's.

I've been watching this site since the groundbreaking and had higher hopes for what would grow out of the corner of 15th and Denny. Ah, and speaking of that intersection, if you follow the link you'll find this is also the name of the "company" that is building the units: "15th and Denny, L.L.C." I'm neither a lawyer, businessman, nor real estate professional, but I do know that LLC stands for "limited liability company." Please correct me if I'm wrong but, as I understand it, these organizations are easy to dissolve and, in the case of housing developments, often do and leave the unit owners without an entity to confront in case of shoddy construction. Not that this construction isn't top notch -- I don't know anything about it -- but it makes me wonder...

The banality of this architecture brings to mind a quote I've been saving from Lefebvre:

Surely it is the supreme illusion to defer to architects, urbanists or planners as being experts or ultimate authorities in matters relating to space. What the 'interested parties' here fail to appreciate is that they are bending their demands (from below) to suit commands (from above), and that this unforced renunciation on their part actually runs ahead of the wishes of the manipulators on consciousness.

In short, I read this as saying that often architects are forced to kowtow to developers (commanders), to surrender their creativity to design what is a proven money-maker, instead of listening to potential residents (demanders) to see what they actually want. If you've read through this site, you know that development initiated by the potential residents is what I am hoping to produce.

On the other hand, when the architects are the developers, you get results that are much more unique, a la 12th and John. Within a stone's throw of eachother, one can find the Anhalt Condominiums and Pb Elemental's 12th and John Residence. Built decades apart, both of these projects show what architects are capable of doing when freed from the reins of traditional developers.

Anhalt Condos (photo taken from seattle condo review; there are lots of bushes around the courtyard which makes it hard to photograph.)

12th and John Residence

Imagine what a group of commited residents, willing to pool their resources, could allow architects like these to design.

No comments: