Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The CVS Store

I find myself at the CVS store on Main Street for something or other at least once a week but it only recently occurred to me to write about its aesthetics. What took me so long? My opinion of its primary east facing elevation is Yuck. What was the ARB thinking? When will people learn that putting shingles (or vinyl resembling shingles) onto a building will not make it blend into a traditional context? I can’t even say the CVS store is an improvement over the IGA that preceded it. There are plenty of examples of CVS stores that have been designed to fit into a traditional context. Two images of such examples are shown, one in progress and clearly more historical than the other, but both brick. The HSBC bank next to CVS is brick, and Saks, across the street is brick, so why not continue that material? Granted, I have not dug into the file and learned how long or involved a review process this design endured, but it doesn't matter because what we all see today is what was approved by the ARB, and that design is wholly inadequate. Instead of relishing the opportunity to contribute in the improvement of the property thereby setting an example of what type of commercial architecture would be acceptable and appropriate within downtown Southampton, the ARB settled for a design that is completely bland and lacking of any quaint village character at all. In fact, it looks more like an outdated building than a renovated one.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

138 Moses Lane

Here are the before and after photos of a Village House that definitely has a contemporary flair while also being grounded and comfortable in a traditional context. If I remember correctly, this house sat for awhile for sale. It was this little one story cottage with a front porch (not in the photo) on this awkward peninsula type lot…………….but along came someone with quite a vision and simply yet significantly transformed the house inside and out into a thoughtful architectural contribution to the neighborhood, and all the while renovating the existing house rather than tearing it down! The front porch and the roof were removed and a new roof with dormer added, along with all new siding, windows, etc. They didn’t have to rely on silly colors (like Pam Glazer at 70 Moses Lane) to provide stylistic and visual interest. Instead they brought back a very traditional detail of a precursor to shingle style architecture not seen too often but completely appropriate, in the way the roof bends at its edges, like an English thatched roof. I remember seeing the interior when it was finished and the entire left side of the house is an open cathedral space, from the finished basement to the roof, and the bedrooms and other secondary spaces fill the right side of the house. So they went down instead of up, to create additional needed square footage. What a success story.