I have no way of knowing whether the folks over at the Procaccianti Group have been listening to my critiques of their eight-story extended-stay hotel proposal on the site of the Fogarty Building, but their latest version, above, is much improved.
The original version, below, was so bad that it would not have been worth razing the Fogarty Building for. If a new building cannot be said to improve upon an old one built in the modernist style known as Brutalism, then it must be really, really, really lame. In fact, it looked like it belonged on an airport access road.
Why replace a building we can blame on our fathers with one we would have no alternative but to blame on ourselves?
The new design has a much more distinctly traditional look, emphasizing its verticality, which is appropriate in a high-rise. It is mostly brick, with what the modernists like to call “punched” windows (instead of strips of horizontal fenestration, or glass curtain wall, which they prefer). It has a base, a shaft and a capital, as if it were a classical order. It has a cornice. It seems to have stringcourses. Bravo!
And yet it still seems quite cheesy – a good example of “bad trad.” The cornice looks too truncated, the windows are not “punched” far enough into the “skin” (oops, I mean masonry) to make the walls look strong. And please! Get rid of those extruded metal window slabs, clearly designed to propitiate the modernists on the commission.
But these features can be improved, and doing so would show that the Procaccianti Group understands what makes a city tick. I can hardly wait for the next iteration of this design.
Meanwhile, the First Bristol proposal for another hotel (also of eight stories) on Parcel 12, the triangular land where Memorial Boulevard curves to the south, has also been improved (albeit not perfected). Which hotel will reach the promised land first?
Ladies and gentlemen of the Downtown Design Review Commission, please do not give the Procaccianti design approval before it has been earned!