Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Urban Design: Take 2 - UNM Court of Appeals

I admit, I veered off topic last time. This time I'll keep it short and sweet. Urban Design: our local architects need to return to school for some "innovative" courses that have been taught for nearly 40 years now. A news story about some dumb-ass kids breaking into the UNM Court of Appeals gave me new ammunition to accuse the university of terrible planning and archaic architectural sensibilities masked in our regional vernacular.
NCA Architects (Planners?) proclaim to provide clients with innovative and economical design solutions...you know, the typical bs we've all come to expect from the profession and construction industry in general. But what's been provided is a monolithic, brown design that is more reminiscent of modern prisons. This location happens to be located in a very nice north campus neighborhood in a rapidly growing part of the university. Beautifully lining the building is a linear, double-loaded parking lot, complete with minimal sidewalk space and a lack of street trees for the crazy person that wants to enjoy this area by foot. Transparency facing the street is a plentiful 20 percent (I'm being generous). Who wouldn't want to walk through this part of campus on a lovely summer evening to appreciate the quiet, wonderfully appointed area? Surely the artîst behind this design included some energy efficient LED lighting to enhance the sense of arrival to his ode-to-Predock during the dark hours. Wow, UNM, what a beautiful campus you have.
I usually save this for DPS projects but the news exposure allowed another firm to present their ground-breaking work.


Anonymous said...

Is your anger toward the practice of architecture a tad misguided? There are clients afterall.

Tim said...

Perhaps a tad. However, I believe architects share the blame for the state of design in our city. Your response was perfect, however. I once was asked by an architect why we even need planners.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you're right, architects (many of them, but not all) deserve their share of the blame. An architect in ABQ that I particularly enjoy (and feel has ABQs best interests in mind) is Mark Baker. Isaac Benton is another favorite of mine.

I hope the architect that asked about the need of planners was asking in jest, otherwise, omg.