Comment of the Day: The Replacements

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE REPLACEMENTS “I happen to live in a 3-story townhouse and love it. There are plenty of older homes, 4-plexes in my neighborhood too, but yes, it’s basically becoming a 3-/4-story townhouse haven. While many people speak about the “history” of Houston in these homes, I find many of them to be dilapidated and run down (not all, of course). So, I see no reason to enjoy keeping up decrepit structures that 1) need to be remodeled or 2) demo’d. Don’t fool yourself — not everything that is old is built to last or of quality craftsmenship. There are a lot of cheap townhouses being put up, but there are also some very nice ones out there (including mine). Also, what’s the deal with everybody hating stucco? What makes ugly brick feel full of life and warm? . . .” [Fernando, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Apartment Hunters]

6 Comment

  • Some of the older homes are just as bad at this as new ones, but, in general, there is a hierarchy of scale that lets one level of detail nest in the next ones, spanning all the way from the building in its grounds down to what you scarcely discern from the street.
    It doesn’t get this way by design: it gets this way after the occupants are there, after they have taken care to let it fit them better year by year.
    Stucco and brick discourage homeowner tinkering in this way, so that the place seldom or never becomes fine-tuned and lived in beyond what someone put on a drawing board or screen – site unseen, often as not. But while brick does start to bridge the inch- and foot- scale levels, stucco detail makes a giant leap from an entire wall down to small variations. The only way this will often succeed is if, like New Mexican stucco, it is a material that has to be maintained regularly and so acquires unanticipated tinkering detail. It *can* become a harmonious design from big to tiny sections then. But New Brutalism stucco’s specifically spec’d to be as close to a cement wall as possible in its upkeep, and it elicits all the visual relationship richness of one in each passerby.
    If I haven’t explained this integration very well, or if you want more understanding, Salingaros writes on these themes and nests *them* in others as well.……arch.html
    “The mind establishes a connection with the environment by processing information. Pavements play a role in connecting human beings to surrounding structures by acting as a vehicle for conveying meaning. The design on pavements transfers meaning from our surroundings to our awareness.”

  • I love stucco. These townhomes are not real stucco.

  • Yeah, yup-yups, LOVE your fake stucco as long as it looks good, the look to your
    homeowner associations’s bank account
    (replacement reserves) as it starts to crumble. The styrofoam “spray and go” stuff
    is great for about five years . . . once it
    melts off the OSB facade, once water intrusion gets behind it, once shifting of the gumbo soil/drought/flood affects the cheap-ass foundation your 4.5 story stucco mini-me-mc-doghouse is sittin on,
    patch & sell SUCKER ! ! ! ! !

  • Well, I’ve had a 3-story metal-siding townhome only a few blocks from the apartments being discussed for about 4 years now. No complaints. It’s a great house with a huge open floor plan that we bought at a VERY reasonable price for such a central location. At the time, there is no way we could have afforded a single family house in Montrose (still can’t, as it takes 400k+) regardless of how cute and charming a turn of the century bungalow is. These townhouses are basically utilitarian structures.

    Galveston has excellent, beautiful historical architecture. I visit all the time, and spend alot of time admiring and doing serious photography of the buildings. But the entire city is a museum preserved by a bad economy. If it had the same pressures on land, probably nothing would be left there either.

    Maybe if Houstonians had built up a huge supply of high quality concrete/brick buildings a hundred years ago, those would be worth saving and maybe we’d be having a different discussion.

  • so much fake stucco out there. if you love stucco look then you might aw well be living in styrofoam. i worked at the san marcos outlet mall and there was the brand new “stucco” wing. it hailed months after completion and the impact of the hail penetrated through the “stucco,” making it look like complete shit.