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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help Make me look ALIVE !!! (building facade)

D10 Group Inc.November 15, 2012
hey guys,
so i have this building that we are developing and its your typical boring brick with stucco perimeter. you know, the same as every other 5-6 story residential building on the block throughout NYC...i am looking to bring some life to the front elevation !!! looking for the more urban/modern theme, fresh and hip !!! was thinking of the following:
1-4 floor - standard brick (color # 2 beige)
5 floor - stucco (color #2 darker brown/taupe)
entry - all glass
windows/doors - pella (color dark bronze)
balcony railing - (color dark bronze)
perimeter walls - stucco (color #1 beige - similar to brick)
plain simple, B O R I N G !!!!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
was looking for some Architectual elements to bring to the table
maybe 1 story facade diiferent material/color then rest ? details at windows (header/sills) or built out soffit at top of 4th floor. dark bronze cladd piece at top of 4th floor ? bring railing detail in at center of 5th floor terrace...
i am open to all suggestions and hoping my Houzz community can help
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I think all those would work, but what bothers me the most is that the windows on the bottom don't relate at all to those above. Seems like a simple fix to bring them more in line, and a different treatment, lighting for the entry would be nice.

For a more old fashioned feel, window awnings might be nice, or over the entrance at least. Making the stucco a color, framing the windows with lintels, adding some varation in the brick bond and detailing are all ways to add some interest. Perhaps the right (recessed?) well could be stucco and continue down to the door area to help unify it a bit? What is the ground floor use?
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Aggie Purvinska
I feel your pain, I am glad you are interested in aesthetics, so many builders don't care, I live in NYC and see ugliness come up every day with all the great architects in the city, how is it possible? I like where you are going with the sheet metal cladding.

I am wondering if you would be interested in decking material (can be all season that looks like teak) run diagonally on parts, also on the railing and parts zinc clad with rivets. Black pipe accessories, fired absolute granite slab on the street level. Also the windows, can they be casement? I don't think the sash is helping the facade.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 1:17PM
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D10 Group Inc.
thanks for your input...
the first floor is residential (13 unit residential building) acutally the small little window (transoms) under each window are not going to be used - going with a slightly larger window. i was thinking of doing the 1F windows with an upper sash grill pattern (pella "special" pattern)
i agree, entry needs to be more defined...can't really see on plan, but it is set back about 3'6" so maybe some type over hang/awing detail would be cool...additionally, the right side units (front to back units) those balconies are actually inset as well (I'll put a picture up to show you - see how boring the building is ???) so i like the idea of the stucco, or maybe even a stucco center outlined with brick on both sides...
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 1:25PM
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Aggie Purvinska
I think I would sooner do wood or metal cladding than stucco with brick. Stucco is stucco brick is brick. The pattern on the windows will read colonial. That is one way to go, I would stick with the red brick for that, with cream or dark brown window frames, and you could do some copper cladding with that (with real patina, copper that's turned green), that's what I would do in this more traditional route you are going..
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Yes there must be some architects to help you out there without breaking the bank. I would look at older buildings that are similar in size and layout and snap pics of what you like. Older buildings are so much more refined with detailing and scale, and I feel a lot of that has been lost over the years--not just fancy details and casings and whatnot, but a sense of proportion and scale, so it just ends up looking kind of jumbled. The individual elements are OK, but they don't work together.

It is hard to put into words what looks right and what doesn't, and sure some of it is a matter of style and taste, but it is a lot more than just adding a cornice or a railing treatment. The basic blocking has to be there from top to bottom. Sometimes just changing the window size or proportions or mullion size a bit is enough to totally change how the building fits together and feels. Massing and detail do matter.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 1:35PM
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D10 Group Inc.
this is what i am avoiding...yes AggieD, it is amazing how some architects just don't care what the finish product looks like...I always try to be creative and have some uniqueness to our projects an identity...i am open to these types of details/elements, but have to keep budgeting in mind. thought this was interesting look
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:11PM
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D10 Group Inc.
when i said "this is what i am avoiding" i was refering to the boring brick building i posted before...
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:14PM
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That looks sooo much like a lot of buildings I saw in Germany. Maybe googling german apartment buildings Mehrfamilienhaus Deutschland would give you more ideas.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Margaret Phillips
Juliet balconies or a regular balcony. If we are talking actual NYC. I have spent most of my in NY and a terrace or balcony is much loved. I would hate that you did away with balconies in favor of how the building looks. Nothing better than NYC life with a little piece of outdoors steps away.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:29PM
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I like that last picture you found. You could do one side and the top a light stucco and the a big block of another material or another color stucco.

There aren't many commercial buildings on this site that I know of, so how about using a residence for inspiration. I like the colors, the black window casing and the light taupe with the wood, of this bulding:
Edgewood · More Info
If there were a brown brick that comes close to the color of the wood, this would be a fresh looking facade.

Here is a striking look:
Executive Calgary Semi-detached · More Info
What if you did stucco down one side instead of on the top floor? I really like these windows, too.

Corregated metal down one side?
Eco-Friendly Vacation Home Exterior · More Info

James Hardie has stucco products that are good looking, like this:
Elemental Design LLC · More Info
Image brick with two colors of stucco.
3555 residence exterior · More Info
Cool color blocking:
Hillside House Exterior · More Info

How about board and batten? This is cement from James Hasrdie:
Mayo waterfront · More Info
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:44PM
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D10 Group Inc.
MPhillips...front are full balconies - about 4'6" deep, in additon to balconies in each unit, there is a roofdeck and a huge rear yard that will be finished (pavers, lawn area etc 35'x55') so rec space is abundent for a little building...i wouldn't eliminte balconies for a look, would rather offer the amenity to the user then take it away from them..i liked the lines that the building had i posted - clean & fresh...
Houssaon - i will check out your suggestions...i agree, breaking up the color tone/material will offer a great look. like the exec. calagry the best...
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Can find hundreds of European examples similar to above here http://www.buildingbutler.com/search/balcony/6,80,1

Maybe one will inspire you. I posted a few pics of typical examples.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 5:56PM
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