Friday, February 20, 2009

Loving the Boulevard

About a year ago a local developer floated an idea for a convention hotel near the Braves stadium. A local newspaper published sketches of the building on the front page, below the fold, exactly where I happened to put down my mug of morning coffee. When I picked up my cup, a neat little caramel-colored ring circled what had to be the most uninspired, uninteresting structure since mid-fifties Moscow. A glass and concrete block set down next to the river. The most apt way to describe it? Blah. I dashed off a disgruntled letter to the editor, offended even that the paper would choose to publish such an offensive picture, much less that any company would consider building it. I don’t know what happened with that proposal but I will of course take full credit for saving you, dear reader, from such a horrid architectural destiny.

Now the developing duo of Doc & Dee plan to erect “timeless architecture” out by State Mutual Stadium. Their plans for The Boulevard, a fancy name for a string of nicer-than-average strip mall stores, certainly out-design anything we’ve seen put up recently by other local developers. Doc & Dee’s architects never miss the chance to toss in a gabled roof or a dramatic awning. I wonder if part of their design strategy is to toss a handful of materials into a bucket and pull them out at random to determine what part of the building that chunk of wood or stone or metal might be assigned to cover. There is an aspect of design-by-committee to their projects. Why have one type of siding covering your exterior walls when you can have eight?

I am fully qualified to tease them, of course, because of my excellent architectural design qualifications. I once built a Tee Pee out of popsicle sticks, you know. That takes skill.

Teasing aside (what am I saying—never will I put aside the teasing), I love the interesting jumble of structures they have planned for the big scraggly field out by the Braves stadium. Their enthusiasm and determination that it be absolutely the most super-fantastic awesome-est best string of strip mall buildings ever is also pretty cute. And nice to see, in these dreary, drained days. Best of luck, Doc & Dee. I look forward to strolling along the Boardwalk.

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