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A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers

The title of tallest building in Florida changed hands twelve times over the past 100 years. Of the 13 buildings to hold the title, 6 of them are in Jacksonville. Today, Metro Jacksonville takes a look at Florida's Tallest Buildings throughout more than a century.

Published December 27, 2010 in History      85 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article



3. Florida Life Building - Jacksonville


Year Completed: 1912
Height: 45 Meters/11 Stories

A part of the Laura Trio, this building was also designed by Henry Klutho. It (and the rest of the Laura Trio) is owned by Cameron Kuhn, who was planning to turn the buildings into Office Condos and Retail Space. In light of Kuhn's financial difficulties, we shall see what is in store for these landmarks.
 

4. Heard National Bank Building (AKA the Graham Building) - Jacksonville


Year Completed: 1913
Height: 55 Meters/15 Stories

The only of the tallest to be demolished, it met its maker in 1981. It is now the site of the Bank of America Tower.



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85 Comments

Noone

December 27, 2010, 06:51:07 AM
Great history lesson and I just wonder how many of these historic structures could be observed when people VISIT our DOWNTOWN PUBLIC PIER? Emily Liska, Wayne Wood, Jerry Spence, Ennis, Stephen add this to a Jacksonville History tour. 

Overstreet

December 27, 2010, 08:16:34 AM
The entry to the Heard National Bank building stood on the site for years guarding the parking lot until they began clearing the way for the Barnett Building.  The pillars of stone were then stored in the Haskel yard. During the  remodeling of the Times Union Center two of them were installed in the lobby and two were installed outside.

Noone

December 27, 2010, 08:28:40 AM
Thats good to know. I'll look for them the next time I'm Downtown.

stjr

December 27, 2010, 06:21:57 PM
The entry to the Heard National Bank building stood on the site for years guarding the parking lot until they began clearing the way for the Barnett Building.  The pillars of stone were then stored in the Haskel yard. During the  remodeling of the Times Union Center two of them were installed in the lobby and two were installed outside.

Heard National Bank was known in the decades before its destruction as the Florida Title Building.  I remember watching them filming an MTV style music video amongst the remaining columns on the site in the early 1980's it seems.  I also watched its demolition from a nearby tower.  They had a  small bobcat type tractor demolish each floor at a time.  It was scary to watch that guy and not think of him going over the edge as he knocked out interior walls.  Saving the columns was a result of historic preservation protests and Barnett trying to appease the community.

How many remember that Barnett was prepared to possibly regain the tallest building crown for Jax by building a skyscraper tower on the sight of the Times Union center and contribute to rebuilding a new performing arts center as well?  Community protests over selling valuable riverfront to private interests prevailed.  Where were people when we "gave away" the land for the Adams Mark/Hyatt box blight?

Another missed opportunity was when the Charter Company said it had plans to build a 70+ story tower on the old Sears block it owned (now the Omni/Wachovia/garage buildings/surface lots).  Unfortunately, Charter went down the tubes before that ever came to fruition.

It is also interesting to note how street friendly the oldest skyscrapers were compared to the cold shoulder at street level from the newer ones.  This likely has also contributed to the decline of our downtown as thousands of workers work there but are functionally disconnected from the city they work in.

ChriswUfGator

December 27, 2010, 06:38:27 PM
Street-friendliness is definitely nonexistent now, that is indeed a major problem. This is emblematic of modern corporate culture, management is removed and hidden away from the remainder of the enterprise, and the enterprises themselves as a whole generally disfavor any interaction with the public. You get directed to a call center now if you need to talk to someone. I guess we can thank all the office shootings for that.

I-10east

December 27, 2010, 09:12:43 PM
I'm I the only one that is getting driven crazy be the "obligatory FL modern highrise" that has to be either teal, aqua, white, or the combo of all three? Miami is basically all teal, aqua, and white, really monotonous; It's overdid in those colors. Okay, I get the whole "play on FL's plentiful water" thing with those warm colors. Hopefully Jax doesn't do anymore highrises (that are white, teal, or aqua) atleast in the next coupla decades. Okay the BOA looks nice, Modis, and Jax Center(or whatever) has the blue but NO MORE, please! LOL
What happened to nice old school bold colors in Chicago School like the browns, and beiges. The old Heard Bldg (RIP) put many modern FL buildings to shame.

Jaxson

December 27, 2010, 11:04:27 PM
I-10east --- Do you think that Miami Vice is to blame for our state's fascination (bordering on obsession) with cute pastel colors for what are supposed to be serious buildings?

thelakelander

December 28, 2010, 07:20:01 AM
Miami has its own architectural style.  They promote it well.  It would be nice to see Jax dust off it's style and promote it to the same degree.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 07:44:05 AM
Some of the best highrises are in Miami. IMO

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 09:44:28 AM
I-10east --- Do you think that Miami Vice is to blame for our state's fascination (bordering on obsession) with cute pastel colors for what are supposed to be serious buildings?

LOL.

Lake and Keith, Miami has great architecture, but does everything hafta be in those colors? Look at one of the few bldgs in Miami that isn't blue, or white the Historic Freedom Tower that's in a nice yellow color; IMO I consider that more of a true Miami type architectural style, then a typical glass blue office tower, or a mandatory white condo highrise. Houston, Atlanta and even Charlotte are good examples of a nice color changes in their skylines.  

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 10:33:56 AM
I think their going with the feel of the region down there. You don't put ATL, Houston, and Charlotte highrises in a semi tropical region just my opinion. There also hues of red, purple, yellow and orange on their buildings. Why should they follow what Atl and Houston are doing? If they did wouldn't every DT in every city look the same? Just MO.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 10:38:20 AM
Careful Chris some will tell you on here that tall buildings means nothing. Leadership is needed not de-consolidation just MO.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 10:39:46 AM
Sad thing is there is no conceivable hope of JAX ever reclaiming its titles on any front. Travel, insurance, banking, tallest building, any of it. It's a matter of time before CSX leadership changes again and says "WTF why are we here?" and moves to someplace more central to their operations. After that, the collapse of the urban environment will be complete. Lived here 11 years and am sadly forced to admit we are turning into one big ghetto version of Fort Myers with mostly strip malls, snake oil, and chinese drywall subdivisions. Make a quick buck, give back as little of it as possible, and then move onto the next thing. To hell with history, sustainability, or the people who actually live here. I can make $47 a week more if I rip that building down to make another parking lot? Let's git er done!

I know it would never happen, but this place needs de-consolidation. Let the former urban core and the original urban neighborhoods be free to protect their own interests, and the south side and intracoastal sprawl can look out for itself. If all the arguments about how sprawl is self-sustaining are true, then it shouldn't be any problem right?

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 10:43:19 AM
Careful Chris some will tell you on here that tall buildings means nothing. Leadership is needed not de-consolidation just MO.

The problem is you can't have effective leadership when you've incorporated so much territory that really doesn't fit together into a local government in such a way that the interests of the different parts are diametrically opposed to one another. We really need to recognize that local communities need to operate in their own self-interests and that the current setup just isn't working and isn't allowing that to happen.

We need to allow each community to focus on what is appropriate and sustainable for itself. And by sustainable I don't mean Ralph Nader / Greenpeace sustainable, I mean economically sustainable. What works for the original urban neighborhoods and downtown doesn't work in Mandarin, the southside, baymeadows, or vice-versa. What's good for one is by nature bad for the other, and when you make these middle-of-the-road compromises you manage to hurt both. Dwntown and the original neighborhoods need to be free to offer their own incentives to attract business back down there, and they can't do so when their leaders are more concerned with poaching a business that may otherwise locate in one of the sprawl-inducing office parks developed by the same people running the city. This place is rife with asinine conflicts of interest, and a mindset that focuses on the suburban quick buck. As long as this continues, we will lose ground. It's getting to where it's unsalvageable.

Jaxson

December 28, 2010, 10:46:01 AM
I-10east --- Do you think that Miami Vice is to blame for our state's fascination (bordering on obsession) with cute pastel colors for what are supposed to be serious buildings?

LOL.

Lake and Keith, Miami has great architecture, but does everything hafta be in those colors? Look at one of the few bldgs in Miami that isn't blue, or white the Historic Freedom Tower that's in a nice yellow color; IMO I consider that more of a true Miami type architectural style, then a typical glass blue office tower, or a mandatory white condo highrise. Houston, Atlanta and even Charlotte are good examples of a nice color changes in their skylines.  

I am not going to assume what I-10east was trying to say, but I think that he may have been lamenting the lack of variety or imagination when it comes to putting up skyscrapers in South Florida.  When we look to New York or Chicago, there is a variety of architectures and styles that provides a buffet of beautiful buildings.  I still believe, however, that cities like Miami, Tampa and Orlando have stunning downtown vistas that are quite a few years ahead of Jax.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 10:53:52 AM
I think their going with the feel of the region down there. You don't put ATL, Houston, and Charlotte highrises in a semi tropical region just my opinion. There also hues of red, purple, yellow and orange on their buildings. Why should they follow what Atl and Houston are doing? If they did wouldn't every DT in every city look the same? Just MO.

Miami's historical Freedom Tower is yellow (one of the very few that's not blue, or white). I get that a black, red or brown tower would look outta place in Mia, but what's wrong with more yellow, green, peach, or even light purple for highrises; Those are typical Miami Beach style art deco colors. Miami skyline style reminds me of a restricted gated community with strict rules (All buildings hafta be blue or white)  Anyways all I'm saying is I don't won't Jax looking like Miami. Hopefully it's okay to occasionally critque a city outside of Jax. I don't think what I'm saying is extreme at all.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 10:54:43 AM
Again why do we want compare Miami's buildings to New York and Chicago two Northern cities. I'm sure when people travel from up north to south Florida they welcome the change in scenery. Miami has its style and New York/Chicago has theres. When I visit Miami I know I'm in Miami, when I visit New York I know I'm in New York and I like it that way.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 10:56:01 AM
I-10east--Jax looking like Miami no worries there. It will never happen.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 10:56:35 AM
Yeah the problem with Miami is when every developer runs around in a boom trying to be innovative at the same time, and they're all using the same set of architects and designers, and at the same time they're all clinging to the same vision of what sells, then you wind up with a very homogenous non-innovative result when 100 buildings pop up at once all looking the same.

Compare the CenTrust building with any of this new aqua-colored glass prefab stuff and tell me you don't see a difference? Miami used to be on the cutting edge or architecture, now it's the leading edge of the cookie cutter.

Jaxson

December 28, 2010, 10:57:00 AM
Careful Chris some will tell you on here that tall buildings means nothing. Leadership is needed not de-consolidation just MO.

The problem is you can't have effective leadership when you've incorporated so much territory that really doesn't fit together into a local government in such a way that the interests of the different parts are diametrically opposed to one another. We really need to recognize that local communities need to operate in their own self-interests and that the current setup just isn't working and isn't allowing that to happen.

We need to allow each community to focus on what is appropriate and sustainable for itself. And by sustainable I don't mean Ralph Nader / Greenpeace sustainable, I mean economically sustainable.

In at least one aspect, consolidation harmed pre-1968 Jacksonville.  Sure, it helped to solve the issue of duplication of services and rampant government corruption.  We forget, however, another ill that consolidation was supposed to help cure.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, pre-1968 Jacksonville was losing residents to the surrounding suburbs.  To prevent its tax base from shrinking any further, the city tried the annexation option.  Unfortunately, annexation efforts failed and Jacksonville needed to stem the bleeding.  Consolidation definitely expanded the tax base by 'annexing' most of Duval County into the city of Jacksonville.  In spite of this giant leap forward, people continued their exodus from the pre-consolidation boundaries into the areas that were previously unincorporated.  I agree with ChriswUfGator that political power follows the people, and because of the rise of suburban areas, the core city stands to keep losing clout in city hall.  The Beaches were smart to opt out of the consolidation because they knew that they would also lose out in the long run if they were to lose their identity to a massive monolith of a metropolis.  In the end, reforms might have been achieved without the 1968 city-county merger.  What would have happened?  It is all left to alternate history...

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 10:58:39 AM
I am not going to assume what I-10east was trying to say, but I think that he may have been lamenting the lack of variety or imagination when it comes to putting up skyscrapers in South Florida.  When we look to New York or Chicago, there is a variety of architectures and styles that provides a buffet of beautiful buildings.

Bingo! Lack of variety and imagination is exactly what Miami's skyline is.

Jaxson

December 28, 2010, 10:59:48 AM
Again why do we want compare Miami's buildings to New York and Chicago two Northern cities. I'm sure when people travel from up north to south Florida they welcome the change in scenery. Miami has its style and New York/Chicago has theres. When I visit Miami I know I'm in Miami, when I visit New York I know I'm in New York and I like it that way.

I don't advocate making us into a southern version of New York or Chicago, but my point is that there has got to be a wider range of designs that represent our state.  I know that Florida can surely attract a diversity of architectures that would embody the Sunshine State at its best.

tufsu1

December 28, 2010, 11:01:42 AM
yep....that condo building with the 10+ story square opening in the middle is what I call "lack of variety and imagination".

and the new concert hall...the epitome of boring architecture!

Jaxson

December 28, 2010, 11:02:42 AM
yep....that condo building in Brickell with the 10+ story square opening in the middle is what I call "lack of variety and imagination" 

Touche!

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 11:03:24 AM
I dont know I see it different. How many ways can you build a condo which is primarly the skyline.

Jaxson

December 28, 2010, 11:04:34 AM
In the midst of this skyscraper discussion, I am tempted to ask a rhetorical question:

"Will there ever be a time when a city is celebrated for its suburban office parks?"

Just sayin'  ; )

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 11:05:22 AM
And the one with the arch in the middle,,whats that? Stop the Miami hate. I dont know why so many on here hate Miami. Is it because its not Jax????

Jaxson

December 28, 2010, 11:07:17 AM
I, for one, don't hate Miami.  I personally think that South Florida is amazing because it is more Florida than it is South Georgia...

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 11:11:54 AM
It's nice to see that some like Jaxson & Chris isn't part of the "Sugarcoating everything that isn't Jax" fan club. That thread pic with the Barnett Bldg on top is REAL architecture; Even you Jax critics can't deny that. Am I saying put the Barnett, or some "Northern looking Bldg" in Miami? No, what's wrong what variety in traditional MIAMI type colors for highrises, like YELLOW (like freedom tower), PEACH, LIGHT PURPLE, GREEN etc, again NOT BROWN, BLACK etc?

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 11:19:56 AM
I, for one, don't hate Miami.  I personally think that South Florida is amazing because it is more Florida than it is South Georgia...

To me, nothing is "more FL" than St Augustine and it's not in South Florida. I'll give you Tampa, and Miami (although it's color scheme is boring LOL) for better vistas than Jax, but IMO Orlando doesn't have much of a skyline compared to Jax. What's Orlando's skyline, the Epcot Center? LOL Everything else you said on this thread I totally agree with. :)

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 11:20:23 AM
Whats wrong with Miami being who Miami is and leave at that. This has nothing to do with the Jax isn't that fan club. Why try to change their identify to satisfy what someone else thinks their buildings should look like. If all our cities looked like New York and Chicago wow I would never leave my front door.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 11:20:54 AM
yep....that condo building with the 10+ story square opening in the middle is what I call "lack of variety and imagination".

and the new concert hall...the epitome of boring architecture!

The buildings with square holes are just copies of the original version built on Brickell in the 1980s Tufsu get your timeline straight. It's got a cameo in Scarface with Al Pacino for chrissakes. Sorry you consider regurgitating a 30 year old design to be cutting edge. It WAS cutting edge back then. You kind of made my point for me didn't you?

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 11:26:35 AM
Constructed 1980 Tufsu;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantis_Condominium



31 years ago yes that was cutting edge. Now it's cookie cutter, they're just regurgitating cheaper versions of it.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 11:28:38 AM
Whats wrong with Miami being who Miami is and leave at that. This has nothing to do with the Jax isn't that fan club. Why try to change their identify to satisfy what someone else thinks their buildings should look like. If all our cities looked like New York and Chicago wow I would never leave my front door.

Why are you so defensive about Miami?

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 11:31:05 AM
Why are you so critical of Miami? and I am a jax native so I have no hidden agenda.

thelakelander

December 28, 2010, 11:36:05 AM
I must admit, I do like the Espirito Santo Plaza (new) and the Capital Lofts Building (old).  I think Miami's skyline has more variety than ours.  In the future, I would like to see architecture in Jax begin to grow to become more of a style of it's own.

Capital Lofts


Espirito Santo Plaza


For all you traditionalist out there, here is a link to a thread with images of the historic core of downtown Miami at street level.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=128365

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 11:39:47 AM
Thats the one with the arch. One of my favorites.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 11:40:52 AM
^^^Lack of diversity in it's skyline. Next time, I won't be critical about any city (just Jax of course) I'll make sure to say the obligatory stupid overplayed comments like "Even Nome, AK is blowing Jax outta the water", and "Jax will always be thirty years behind Syracuse" to keep up with the mandatory "Jax bashing" quota.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 11:46:16 AM
Capital lofts, and Freedom Tower are some of Miami's very few highrises that isn't blue. Lake proved my point with Esprito and other two buildings (obligatory blue out).

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 11:47:41 AM
I-10 east no one was bashing Jax in this thread. You often mention the Jax inferiority complex, but dont you think you get a little sensitive when someone mentions something positive about another city. And to be honest we are far behind where we should be. The only way to improve is to recognize your faults and mistakes and correct them. Not continually make the over and over. You've turned this into Jax bash thread no one else did.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 11:52:42 AM
I must say Lake, I checked the skyscapercity link, and Miami has more historical fabric than I thought. Unfortunately the low/midrise type historical buildings are hidden and overshadowed by a wall of stark white highrise condos, and blue glass office towers.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 11:59:57 AM
I-10 east no one was bashing Jax in this thread.

I agree. I was making a point if you bash Jax (or say something critical about Jax) on MJ, it's generally acceptable, but if you say something critical about another city (Like I was critical about Miami's skyline) then that's unacceptable, because Jax is the only city that you can say something critical about on MJ. 

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 12:04:12 PM
So we can bash Miami skyline because their historical fabric is hidden by highrise and blue glass office tower/hotels, but dare not say anything about Jax lack of depth, density, and infrastructure downtown. I dont get it. Its ok to bash Miami, but leave darling Jax alone.

stephendare

December 28, 2010, 12:05:17 PM
I-10 east no one was bashing Jax in this thread.

I agree. I was making a point if you bash Jax (or say something critical about Jax) on MJ, it's generally acceptable, but if you say something critical about another city (Like I was critical about Miami's skyline) then that's unacceptable, because Jax is the only city that you can say something critical about on MJ.  

This is dumb.  The site also praises Jacksonville for things that other people do not posess, and brings to light qualities and histories that are unknown to most people.  It would be equally misplaced to criticise the site for not praising every other city whenever we discuss Jacksonville strong points.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 12:06:09 PM
I-10 east no one was bashing Jax in this thread.

I agree. I was making a point if you bash Jax (or say something critical about Jax) on MJ, it's generally acceptable, but if you say something critical about another city (Like I was critical about Miami's skyline) then that's unacceptable, because Jax is the only city that you can say something critical about on MJ.  

Nope, but you need to stop getting so upset when something is said negative about Jax. We've got alot of work to and its late in the ball game

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 12:10:13 PM
Lake its time for a good feel thread about Jax.

stephendare

December 28, 2010, 12:11:58 PM
Lake its time for a good feel thread about Jax.

The whole site is one..  I 10 seems to think that we are supposed to be either a marketing firm or a sports talk radio show.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 12:12:20 PM
All you see is a wall of white and blue in MIA. Hell, even in Jax's and Tampa's (postcard shot view) has more diversity than MIA. Maybe that why during Heat games etc. they show South Beach, because they are tired of seeing a wall of white & blue.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 12:19:56 PM
I-10 I go to Miami quite often and I just dont see what your seeing. I guess thats why we are all different. Anyway South Beach is a part of Miami and they always show DT Miami during any sporting events. Miami has its own flavor and feel and its a top destination for a reason. It will never resemble New York and it shouldnt.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 12:21:32 PM
Nope, but you need to stop getting so upset when something is said negative about Jax. We've got alot of work to and its late in the ball game

It doesn't even bother me anymore (bashing Jax) because it happens so much; What irks me more is that if someone was to say the teeniest semi-negative thing about any other city outside of Jax, they will be witch-hunted down like I'm being now for my take on Miami's skyline.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 12:23:12 PM
Your entitled to your opinion just as others are about Jacksonville.

stephendare

December 28, 2010, 12:32:58 PM
Nope, but you need to stop getting so upset when something is said negative about Jax. We've got alot of work to and its late in the ball game

It doesn't even bother me anymore (bashing Jax) because it happens so much; What irks me more is that if someone was to say the teeniest semi-negative thing about any other city outside of Jax, they will be witch-hunted down like I'm being now for my take on Miami's skyline.

You get 'witch hunted' an awful lot, in the course of conversations about architecture and urban planning, dont you?  It must be a very interesting life. ;)

thelakelander

December 28, 2010, 12:39:17 PM
Here's a feel good story about Jacksonville architecture. 



http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-aug-a-jacksonville-landmark-prairie-school-architecture

This style sets us apart from every place in the Southeastern US.  We should embrace it.

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 12:41:13 PM
LOL. Although Stephen, I'm not the only one on this thread to think that Miami has a lack of diversity in it's skyline, those other guys left me hanging; I'm used to that though. I bet if I say "George Washington was the first U.S. president" someone would disagree with me. :)

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 12:42:37 PM
Thanks Lake for the feel good Jax thread. :)

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 12:58:40 PM
I must admit, I do like the Espirito Santo Plaza (new) and the Capital Lofts Building (old).  I think Miami's skyline has more variety than ours.  In the future, I would like to see architecture in Jax begin to grow to become more of a style of it's own.

Capital Lofts


Espirito Santo Plaza


For all you traditionalist out there, here is a link to a thread with images of the historic core of downtown Miami at street level.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=128365

The ESB building has one of the nicest hotels in Miami on the top few floors, the Conrad. You check in on the 25th floor and go up from there, the view is awesome. They have a bar with an outdoor deck on one of the higher floors you can smoke cigars and drink martinis way up there, outside. I wish we had anything at all like that in JAX.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 01:00:24 PM
I love that morocco temple only thing missing is a few fire torches.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 01:09:17 PM
This is the view from the conrad hotel;

I-10east

December 28, 2010, 01:13:33 PM
I'm not too wild about ESB's design. It seems like alot of people love it though of course because of the arch. One time I was at a MIA gas station, and it had a full wine bar inside; I've never seen anything like that in my life, man that place was pimpin' LOL; Is the common in South FL? Because I never seen anything like that in Jax. IMO The roller coaster at Boomers! in Ft Lauderdale "Dania Beach Hurricane" is the best wooden coaster in FL. See, I'm not all negative South FL. :)  

Jaxson

December 28, 2010, 01:17:39 PM
Don't forget the Burger King that serves beer!  I recall reading about that experiment going on in South Florida.

http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/22/news/companies/burger_king_whopper_bar/

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 01:36:14 PM
Lol south Florida is crazy like that, you remember when the US-1 carwash by coconut grove has a Starbucks and a bar in it? It's gone downhill lately but I had never seen a carwash with anything but a crappy gift shop attached to it before that.

tufsu1

December 28, 2010, 01:47:33 PM
yep....that condo building with the 10+ story square opening in the middle is what I call "lack of variety and imagination".

and the new concert hall...the epitome of boring architecture!

The buildings with square holes are just copies of the original version built on Brickell in the 1980s Tufsu get your timeline straight. It's got a cameo in Scarface with Al Pacino for chrissakes. Sorry you consider regurgitating a 30 year old design to be cutting edge. It WAS cutting edge back then. You kind of made my point for me didn't you?

dude...I didn't say anything about timelines....just making a point that Miami architecture hardly lacks imagination or variety

AaroniusLives

December 28, 2010, 03:21:18 PM
Regarding the "originality" or lack thereof of Miami/South Florida's skyscrapers, they may have hit the point of overkill, with so many of them being built at the same time (the last 25 years or so,) but they've set the standard. Dubai's skyline, is elements of Miami's design on acid. I get that the design doesn't appeal to everybody, but South Florida's impact on architecture, specifically high-rise architecture, is undeniable.

However, until very recently (the 2000s,) high-rises built anywhere in Florida helped to erase and empty out downtown districts. Remember, successful cities aren't defined by "how tall the buildings" are but rather "how they combine density and walkablity." Tall buildings built prior to World War II integrated into the fabric of downtown, and boosted capacity in the thriving districts. A high-rise built in the 1960s, the 1970s or the 1980s took already depressed central business districts, consolidated office or residential space into slender towers barely connected to the streets (and frequently designed to shun the streets, creating "suburbs in the sky,") and thus, emptied out the surrounding buildings (in Jacksonville's case, making it much, MUCH easier to build the stunning city of vacant lands joined to parking lots we see today.)

I went to conservatory in downtown Miami during the late 1980s, early 1990s. They had just built the "Centrust Tower" a few years before, as well as the "Southeast Bank Building," which provided vertical "wow" factor, but didn't remotely help the City of Miami from becoming a vacant, scary place after 6pm. They certainly didn't help surrounding, less skyscraping, less modern buildings from gentrifying down a notch or three, or emptying out entirely.

Now, Miami (and to a lesser extent, greater South Florida,) has changed their paradigm and is promoting a walkable lifestyle among the skyscrapers...which is good, but it's important to note that to a complete degree, South Florida is built out. They have little choice but to build up, since they can't build out, nor can they widen roads, or annex swamp, or...fill in the pre-2000s South Florida trick here.

Skyscrapers in New York made and make a ton of sense: there's a whole lot of people and not a lot of land. Skyscrapers in Miami make sense now: there's a whole lot of people and not a lot of land. But skyscrapers or high-rises just don't make a ton of sense in areas that aren't approaching adequate densities to support them. I'd almost wish that there was a law: you can't build above six stories tall until you hit a certain level of population density. 'Cause they scrape the sky and suck the ever living life out of the city.

Note that Paris is basically skyscraper-free and is still the model for city planning, density and urban life done right. Note that DC has not high-rises to speak of (and arguably, the proper density to support said skyscrapers without destroying the urban fabric and life on the street,) and yet, DC is awesome...as a city. 

thelakelander

December 28, 2010, 03:32:48 PM
^Great points.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 03:48:33 PM
The skyscrapers didn't cause the suburb in the sky problem, the changing nature of American business did. Corporations no longer felt they needed to interact with their customers in person, much less general society. Guards were installed at front doors, executives had their own sealed off floors, dining rooms, and parking areas so that even the rest of the workers couldn't interact with them. This really began to take hold across the board in the 1970s and 1980s and the nature and design of office buildings reflected this newly adversarial nature of conducting business.

Even so, the centrust tower was actually one of the first metro mover stations and is a largely public building. Armed guards aplenty to access the bank's offices though, and you'd have been shot before you made it near David Paul's office. These kind of buildings reflect, quite literally, the physical expression of people who felt they're better than everyone else. This is just an observation, and I'm hardly the only one who has noticed it. David Ginzl cited the disconnected management brought about by the isolation of the top 2 floors of the new building as a contributing factor in the decline of Barnett Bank.

Anyway, it's not the architecture or height that does this it's the sponsors who are paying for the structure who are demanding "security features."

Non-RedNeck Westsider

December 28, 2010, 04:20:02 PM
What change was made?

Up the corporate ladder, into the corner office, having the penthouse, bigger, better, nicer, more luxurious, more expensive, more exclusive, more chic......

Business hasn't changed, people's goals haven't changed and I don't believe they will.  Take a look around, while your driving in one of your 2 vehicles, and you'll notice that it's a damned possesive world out there.  And I don't think anyone works their ass off to say, "Yep, I made it.  All the way to the 4th floor!"

Go back and read Aaronius' post, it makes a lot of sense.

AaroniusLives

December 28, 2010, 04:33:21 PM
Quote
The skyscrapers didn't cause the suburb in the sky problem, the changing nature of American business did. Corporations no longer felt they needed to interact with their customers in person, much less general society. Guards were installed at front doors, executives had their own sealed off floors, dining rooms, and parking areas so that even the rest of the workers couldn't interact with them. This really began to take hold across the board in the 1970s and 1980s and the nature and design of office buildings reflected this newly adversarial nature of conducting business.

Even so, the centrust tower was actually one of the first metro mover stations and is a largely public building. Armed guards aplenty to access the bank's offices though, and you'd have been shot before you made it near David Paul's office. These kind of buildings reflect, quite literally, the physical expression of people who felt they're better than everyone else. This is just an observation, and I'm hardly the only one who has noticed it. David Ginzl cited the disconnected management brought about by the isolation of the top 2 floors of the new building as a contributing factor in the decline of Barnett Bank.

Anyway, it's not the architecture or height that does this it's the sponsors who are paying for the structure who are demanding "security features."

Your comments about the Centrust Tower entirely prove my point. The MetroMover was designed specifically so that people coming in to work downtown wouldn't have to deal with the horrors of the "street." That it pulls into the Centrust building, where your choices are to exit, to go to a bank teller, to go to a security-filled lobby, or to go to a security-filled, 10th floor cafeteria for white-collar working folks, is the very definition of a skyscraper that doesn't enhance the urban experience. It is an office park built vertically.

As for what caused the "suburbs in the sky" problem, it's fairly unjust to place the blame all on the big-bad corporations, when I suspect that most everybody who decided sprawl is better than density are to blame...and that's a whole lot of American citizens. Mind you, I actually think that the cities themselves are somewhat blameless here; once they started the ball rolling on suburbanization, they were presented with an impossible situation, which was to retain or attract top-drawer business via infrastructure improvements (skyscrapers in less dense cities being an "improvement" here,) that would, paradox be damned, help to eradicate what remaining life there was in the cities.

Imagine being the mayor of a city in the 1970s. You've already lost most of your commerce to the shopping malls, and you've replaced what you could with shops and services a notch or three down from what was there before (using Miami as an example, they retained Burdines' flagship store because it was also their HQ, but Miami's "premier shopping street" of Flagler became Miami's "discount jewelry and electronic crap" street.) The middle and upper classes had already left (and, in fact, promoted the commercial relocation in the first place.) Do you want to lose your remaining business community? What steps do you take to retain it? For most cities, it was the office high-rise.

I just take umbrage with this belief that high-rise buildings or skyscrapers equal cities. That's flat-out untrue, and in many ways, these high-rise buildings and skyscrapers help to hollow out the very cities they are meant to instill pride within. To put this another way, imagine if the Modis Dustbuster building was six blocks of five story buildings (ideally, with street front retail, but beggars can't be choosers, eh?) That would be six blocks of downtown Jacksonville with something rather than nothing. Much like the something that was there before.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 04:47:56 PM
What change was made?

Up the corporate ladder, into the corner office, having the penthouse, bigger, better, nicer, more luxurious, more expensive, more exclusive, more chic......

Business hasn't changed, people's goals haven't changed and I don't believe they will.  Take a look around, while your driving in one of your 2 vehicles, and you'll notice that it's a damned possesive world out there.  And I don't think anyone works their ass off to say, "Yep, I made it.  All the way to the 4th floor!"

Go back and read Aaronius' post, it makes a lot of sense.

I read his post. Just because I didn't draw the same conclusion as you evidently did hardly means I didn't read.

I just think buildings reflect the society that constructs them, I don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas. More social trends than anything else.

thelakelander

December 28, 2010, 04:51:25 PM
Here are some images of what was replaced by Independent Square (MODIS).



ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 04:56:27 PM
You and I agree on the function of buildings of this era being to intentionally isolate their inhabitants. That was my point to begin with. However I think you're confusing cause and effect on this one, buildings are Reflections of their builders more than anything else and the isolation function that really began in the 1960s and gathered steam in the 70s and 80s reflects the societal trends behind that thinking. The buildings didn't kill anything or change urban society, they are merely reflective of the change in social values that did that, and which led to their isolating designs in the first place.

I also don't equate "city" with high-rise automatically, you are wrongfully assigning that to me for some reason. However, I don't think high rises cause the death of urban environments just by virtue of being tall either. That's a gross oversimplification of the societal trends that led to the decline of many urban environments. The isolated nature of the buildings are merely an effect, not the cause.

Quote
The skyscrapers didn't cause the suburb in the sky problem, the changing nature of American business did. Corporations no longer felt they needed to interact with their customers in person, much less general society. Guards were installed at front doors, executives had their own sealed off floors, dining rooms, and parking areas so that even the rest of the workers couldn't interact with them. This really began to take hold across the board in the 1970s and 1980s and the nature and design of office buildings reflected this newly adversarial nature of conducting business.

Even so, the centrust tower was actually one of the first metro mover stations and is a largely public building. Armed guards aplenty to access the bank's offices though, and you'd have been shot before you made it near David Paul's office. These kind of buildings reflect, quite literally, the physical expression of people who felt they're better than everyone else. This is just an observation, and I'm hardly the only one who has noticed it. David Ginzl cited the disconnected management brought about by the isolation of the top 2 floors of the new building as a contributing factor in the decline of Barnett Bank.

Anyway, it's not the architecture or height that does this it's the sponsors who are paying for the structure who are demanding "security features."

Your comments about the Centrust Tower entirely prove my point. The MetroMover was designed specifically so that people coming in to work downtown wouldn't have to deal with the horrors of the "street." That it pulls into the Centrust building, where your choices are to exit, to go to a bank teller, to go to a security-filled lobby, or to go to a security-filled, 10th floor cafeteria for white-collar working folks, is the very definition of a skyscraper that doesn't enhance the urban experience. It is an office park built vertically.

As for what caused the "suburbs in the sky" problem, it's fairly unjust to place the blame all on the big-bad corporations, when I suspect that most everybody who decided sprawl is better than density are to blame...and that's a whole lot of American citizens. Mind you, I actually think that the cities themselves are somewhat blameless here; once they started the ball rolling on suburbanization, they were presented with an impossible situation, which was to retain or attract top-drawer business via infrastructure improvements (skyscrapers in less dense cities being an "improvement" here,) that would, paradox be damned, help to eradicate what remaining life there was in the cities.

Imagine being the mayor of a city in the 1970s. You've already lost most of your commerce to the shopping malls, and you've replaced what you could with shops and services a notch or three down from what was there before (using Miami as an example, they retained Burdines' flagship store because it was also their HQ, but Miami's "premier shopping street" of Flagler became Miami's "discount jewelry and electronic crap" street.) The middle and upper classes had already left (and, in fact, promoted the commercial relocation in the first place.) Do you want to lose your remaining business community? What steps do you take to retain it? For most cities, it was the office high-rise.

I just take umbrage with this belief that high-rise buildings or skyscrapers equal cities. That's flat-out untrue, and in many ways, these high-rise buildings and skyscrapers help to hollow out the very cities they are meant to instill pride within. To put this another way, imagine if the Modis Dustbuster building was six blocks of five story buildings (ideally, with street front retail, but beggars can't be choosers, eh?) That would be six blocks of downtown Jacksonville with something rather than nothing. Much like the something that was there before.

Keith-N-Jax

December 28, 2010, 05:05:03 PM
Everyone has their opinion. If a person chooses to live in a highrise building that's their decision and where they choose to live. Not everyone wants a home/house. Aaronius post is once again some ones opinion which all are entitled to.

AaroniusLives

December 28, 2010, 06:00:58 PM
Quote
I just think buildings reflect the society that constructs them, I don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas. More social trends than anything else.

ChriswUfGator, I agree that "buildings reflect the society that constructs them" as well. However, just because "[you] don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas" doesn't make it so. That's been proven, time and time again, in city after city after city. By far, the most salient example of such is the GM HQ building in Detroit, which was built to "save" the urban fabric of the city, and instead, slurped whatever remaining life was left out of the city.

Quote
You and I agree on the function of buildings of this era being to intentionally isolate their inhabitants. That was my point to begin with. However I think you're confusing cause and effect on this one, buildings are Reflections of their builders more than anything else and the isolation function that really began in the 1960s and gathered steam in the 70s and 80s reflects the societal trends behind that thinking. The buildings didn't kill anything or change urban society, they are merely reflective of the change in social values that did that, and which led to their isolating designs in the first place.

I agree that society changed, and thus, the style of buildings, where those buildings were located and how they were to be used and accessed changed. But...this is just simple math here. Let's say that downtown Jacksonville had 1000 people occupying ten, four-story buildings before skyscraper x was built. x now houses all of those 1000 people, and there's little demand for more. The ten, four-story buildings are left to decay, or are demolished for parking (for x,) or are just flat-out demolished. What was once a few blocks of density is now a tower in isolation. Do societal changes and desires inform that change? Of course. As did a huge suction pump of a skyscraper (x) that was built in a downtown that couldn't handle the vertical impact.

Quote
I also don't equate "city" with high-rise automatically, you are wrongfully assigning that to me for some reason. However, I don't think high rises cause the death of urban environments just by virtue of being tall either. That's a gross oversimplification of the societal trends that led to the decline of many urban environments. The isolated nature of the buildings are merely an effect, not the cause.

Sorry for the wrongful assignation. However, I don't think that it's a gross oversimplification. Moreover, it's not merely that the buildings are, by design, isolated experiences disconnected from the urban fabric. It's that the buildings designed to be isolated were dropped into central business districts that were already struggling with vacancies, thus killing them off. Obviously, high-rises are but a part of the overall decline and their development and implementation are obviously informed by the social pressures when they were built. But high-rise development in an area with a population decline (such as downtown Jacksonville) are as much of a cause for the continued desolation as they are an effect of the societal trends that led to the decline in the first place.

And while you may not equate "city" with "skyscraper," a great many people do, and that's entirely part of the problem. You can see it at the end of this article:
Quote
Will Jacksonville ever have a building reclaim the title of Florida's Tallest? One day it may be possible, but for now we will have to take pride in the fact that the Florida Skyscraper boom began in Jacksonville.


Here's my answer: perhaps Jacksonville will again have a building that will reclaim the "tallest" title. But perhaps Jacksonville should hit appropriate densities of both residential and commercial populations before they attempt to reach for the sky.

Look at a former article on this site:
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-oct-the-plight-of-the-urban-core

How about getting back to at least your 1950s population and density in the urban core before you even consider a high-rise. That's just smart. Build a city you're proud of, that people actually live in. Skyscrapers be damned. They don't make a city until you have the proper density to have them be a benefit, not a sucking hole.

(Mind you, I just want to be clear. I totally respect your opinion and intelligence, ChriswUfGator. This is a debate, not an attack, so again, I apologize if it came off as such.)

Quote
Everyone has their opinion. If a person chooses to live in a highrise building that's their decision and where they choose to live. Not everyone wants a home/house. Aaronius post is once again some ones opinion which all are entitled to.

So not the point, Keith-N-Jax. My post(s) were not opinion pieces on "where I want to live" or "high-rises suck!" You live in a "city" where the urban core has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You live in a "city" practically defined by empty city blocks and parking blocks. By all means, if you want to live in a high-rise, go for it. But that vertical development is entirely outsized and quite harmful for an urban area that has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You make the bag bigger (by going up,) but you don't have the need for the bigger bag. What you do have the need for, is multi-block density. You need ten, four-story buildings instead of one, forty-story building.

This, incidentally, is the main lesson learned in South Florida during the initial phases of the skyscraper boom. Miami spent billions to encourage both high-rise office and residential development, and yet the city still faltered, failed. And yet, down the road a bit, a neighborhood with minimal initial investment took off as the "place," primarily by virtue of its walkable, dense, original fabric. That was Coconut Grove. Miami spent more billions and got a couple of iconic towers...and yet, it still didn't get what it was looking for. But, over the causeway, a bunch of gays, artists and bohemians took decayed but unique urban fabric and relaunched South Beach. It wasn't until Miami went mixed-use and high-rise (and South Florida literally ran out of room for more sprawl,) that Miami's 30-year, multi-billion dollar bet even remotely began to pay off. 

stephendare

December 28, 2010, 06:21:47 PM
I would wholly disagree that the presence of large skyscrapers sucked the life out of the smaller buildings because the city was not prepared for vertical expansion.  And I do not attribute the failure of the skyscrapers to this dynamic either.  At least not in the case of Jacksonville.

In fact I think that the observable timelines would establish a simultaneous relation, but not a causal one.

It is my belief that the Skyscrapers were caused by the railroads and killed by the computer.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 06:41:52 PM
That's a nice theory, but I find it a gross oversimplification that fails to account for white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period. It really has little to nothing to do with the problems, which were much larger than your explanation accounts for.

Quote
I just think buildings reflect the society that constructs them, I don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas. More social trends than anything else.

ChriswUfGator, I agree that "buildings reflect the society that constructs them" as well. However, just because "[you] don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas" doesn't make it so. That's been proven, time and time again, in city after city after city. By far, the most salient example of such is the GM HQ building in Detroit, which was built to "save" the urban fabric of the city, and instead, slurped whatever remaining life was left out of the city.

Quote
You and I agree on the function of buildings of this era being to intentionally isolate their inhabitants. That was my point to begin with. However I think you're confusing cause and effect on this one, buildings are Reflections of their builders more than anything else and the isolation function that really began in the 1960s and gathered steam in the 70s and 80s reflects the societal trends behind that thinking. The buildings didn't kill anything or change urban society, they are merely reflective of the change in social values that did that, and which led to their isolating designs in the first place.

I agree that society changed, and thus, the style of buildings, where those buildings were located and how they were to be used and accessed changed. But...this is just simple math here. Let's say that downtown Jacksonville had 1000 people occupying ten, four-story buildings before skyscraper x was built. x now houses all of those 1000 people, and there's little demand for more. The ten, four-story buildings are left to decay, or are demolished for parking (for x,) or are just flat-out demolished. What was once a few blocks of density is now a tower in isolation. Do societal changes and desires inform that change? Of course. As did a huge suction pump of a skyscraper (x) that was built in a downtown that couldn't handle the vertical impact.

Quote
I also don't equate "city" with high-rise automatically, you are wrongfully assigning that to me for some reason. However, I don't think high rises cause the death of urban environments just by virtue of being tall either. That's a gross oversimplification of the societal trends that led to the decline of many urban environments. The isolated nature of the buildings are merely an effect, not the cause.

Sorry for the wrongful assignation. However, I don't think that it's a gross oversimplification. Moreover, it's not merely that the buildings are, by design, isolated experiences disconnected from the urban fabric. It's that the buildings designed to be isolated were dropped into central business districts that were already struggling with vacancies, thus killing them off. Obviously, high-rises are but a part of the overall decline and their development and implementation are obviously informed by the social pressures when they were built. But high-rise development in an area with a population decline (such as downtown Jacksonville) are as much of a cause for the continued desolation as they are an effect of the societal trends that led to the decline in the first place.

And while you may not equate "city" with "skyscraper," a great many people do, and that's entirely part of the problem. You can see it at the end of this article:
Quote
Will Jacksonville ever have a building reclaim the title of Florida's Tallest? One day it may be possible, but for now we will have to take pride in the fact that the Florida Skyscraper boom began in Jacksonville.


Here's my answer: perhaps Jacksonville will again have a building that will reclaim the "tallest" title. But perhaps Jacksonville should hit appropriate densities of both residential and commercial populations before they attempt to reach for the sky.

Look at a former article on this site:
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-oct-the-plight-of-the-urban-core

How about getting back to at least your 1950s population and density in the urban core before you even consider a high-rise. That's just smart. Build a city you're proud of, that people actually live in. Skyscrapers be damned. They don't make a city until you have the proper density to have them be a benefit, not a sucking hole.

(Mind you, I just want to be clear. I totally respect your opinion and intelligence, ChriswUfGator. This is a debate, not an attack, so again, I apologize if it came off as such.)

Quote
Everyone has their opinion. If a person chooses to live in a highrise building that's their decision and where they choose to live. Not everyone wants a home/house. Aaronius post is once again some ones opinion which all are entitled to.

So not the point, Keith-N-Jax. My post(s) were not opinion pieces on "where I want to live" or "high-rises suck!" You live in a "city" where the urban core has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You live in a "city" practically defined by empty city blocks and parking blocks. By all means, if you want to live in a high-rise, go for it. But that vertical development is entirely outsized and quite harmful for an urban area that has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You make the bag bigger (by going up,) but you don't have the need for the bigger bag. What you do have the need for, is multi-block density. You need ten, four-story buildings instead of one, forty-story building.

This, incidentally, is the main lesson learned in South Florida during the initial phases of the skyscraper boom. Miami spent billions to encourage both high-rise office and residential development, and yet the city still faltered, failed. And yet, down the road a bit, a neighborhood with minimal initial investment took off as the "place," primarily by virtue of its walkable, dense, original fabric. That was Coconut Grove. Miami spent more billions and got a couple of iconic towers...and yet, it still didn't get what it was looking for. But, over the causeway, a bunch of gays, artists and bohemians took decayed but unique urban fabric and relaunched South Beach. It wasn't until Miami went mixed-use and high-rise (and South Florida literally ran out of room for more sprawl,) that Miami's 30-year, multi-billion dollar bet even remotely began to pay off. 

stephendare

December 28, 2010, 06:43:42 PM
That's a nice theory, but I find it a gross oversimplification that fails to account for white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period. It really has little to nothing to do with the problems, which were much larger than your explanation accounts for.

who are you answering

stjr

December 28, 2010, 06:49:34 PM
I think the insularity of skyscrapers will be/have been compounded following the original attack in the garage of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing.  Owners are probably paranoid about attacks and security which just creates even more barriers with the surrounding urban fabric.  I note that even in older high rises in NY, it is often impossible to get much beyond the front door without a security encounter.  What building owner wants to put a store front to the street that allows anyone with evil intentions to access the base of the structure unencumbered.  Sadly, on this point, terrorists have succeeded in altering our society.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 07:14:14 PM
That's a nice theory, but I find it a gross oversimplification that fails to account for white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period. It really has little to nothing to do with the problems, which were much larger than your explanation accounts for.

who are you answering

Aaronius (sic)

He's arguing in his first paragraph that the excess density injected into urban environments by large buildings itself destroysnurban fabric. I think that's a bit shortsighted considering all the larger factors that precipitated the decline of midsized American urban environments in the 1960s-1990s. I suspect that had little to do with it.

AaroniusLives

December 28, 2010, 07:18:32 PM
Quote
That's a nice theory, but I find it a gross oversimplification that fails to account for white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period. It really has little to nothing to do with the problems, which were much larger than your explanation accounts for.

It adds to the issue. It compounds everything you list, like "white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period."

Let's say Jacksonville didn't build one high-rise from 1950 on and assume that the urban core would still lose more than 90,000 peeps. Instead of having whatever is left confined to empty lots surrounding outsized buildings, you'd have less empty lots surrounded by urban fabric.

But, whatever. We're clearly potahto/potayto here.

Quote
I think the insularity of skyscrapers will be/have been compounded following the original attack in the garage of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing.  Owners are probably paranoid about attacks and security which just creates even more barriers with the surrounding urban fabric.  I note that even in older high rises in NY, it is often impossible to get much beyond the front door without a security encounter.  What building owner wants to put a store front to the street that allows anyone with evil intentions to access the base of the structure unencumbered.  Sadly, on this point, terrorists have succeeded in altering our society.

Security is a fact of life pretty much everywhere. WTC may have made NYC more secure, but it's still a livable, walking city that has skyscrapers because they have density. Jax doesn't, security issues or otherwise. I work over the bridge from DC in Arlington, in a high-rise with uber-security. And yet, the ground floor features exterior retail pods that integrate with the urban fabric of Arlington. The high-rises are here because there is a need for concentrated development over what was/is already dense and growing.


Quote
It is my belief that the Skyscrapers were caused by the railroads and killed by the computer.


They're still building skyscrapers all over the world. The main reason is that urban areas have a need: to create more space where there is none. They have the density to support them.

I was just in Monaco (which, for the record, is the most insanely beautiful place, ever.) Nearly every building outside the old city or Monaco-Ville was a high-rise to a skyscraper with ground floor shops, restaurants, banks, businesses, etc. Aside from the wealth factor, the skyscraper model works there because they have no land and yet they are still growing. They need a bigger bag, as they've already stuffed the existing one to the brim. Jacksonville hasn't.

Quote
He's arguing in his first paragraph that the excess density injected into urban environments by large buildings itself destroysnurban fabric. I think that's a bit shortsighted considering all the larger factors that precipitated the decline of midsized American urban environments in the 1960s-1990s. I suspect that had little to do with it.

Actually I'm arguing that excess capacity injected into urban environments by large buildings destroys urban fabric, and I'm agreeing with you that it doesn't occur in a vacuum. I'm arguing that excess capacity creates cities of parking lots and empty lots. I'm arguing that when you build a high-rise tower, it doesn't increase overall density of the urban area if the demand for space is met by the high-rise tower and the surrounding fabric empties out. This didn't happen by itself, without all the larger factors you mentioned, but it did happen. Does happen. You can take a drive downtown and witness the effects for yourself. Or, Jacksonville can build yet another grand mega-project, increase capacity where there is no need, and watch another parking lot bloom from the desolate wreckage.

ChriswUfGator

December 28, 2010, 07:26:02 PM
Monaco is the smallest nation on earth, not really the best comparison to the largest city by land area in one of the largest countries. Not that I don't see the logic in your theory, I do. I just don't think is necessarily carries over, considering the other macro factors I mentioned which were in play when the urban decline occurred. I get where you're going, it makes sense. There was just a lot more to it.

stephendare

December 28, 2010, 09:41:29 PM
Aaronius.  To your point about Skyscrapers providing more space.  While this is certainly one of the benefits that discovering this structure has brought us, the conditions in which this application are an actual necessity---as chris pointed out----are limited to a few special circumstances:  Island nations etc.

The causal agent which created the niche that the sky scraper filled however was more subtle and more interesting.  I found myself researching this issue about two years ago at great length, trying to answer the question: What anthropological trope led to a need for skyscrapers?

Most people trace the advent of the buildings to the discovery of structural steel, which is also a pat answer, but on reflection it is still a correllative rather than causal relationship.

The question has to be answered in such a way that explains why the traditional answers were disregarded.

The traditional way to deal with a need for greater space was simply: expand.

There had to be a sufficiently powerful reason for the society to look towards new building process using new materials in such a precipitous way.  What would have provided that impetus.

Here is a question.

Who built the first skyscrapers?  Where were they?  What kind of businesses?

AaroniusLives

December 29, 2010, 10:50:07 AM
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There had to be a sufficiently powerful reason for the society to look towards new building process using new materials in such a precipitous way.  What would have provided that impetus.

Here is a question.

Who built the first skyscrapers?  Where were they?  What kind of businesses?

This is a very "loose" web search answer to that, Stephen Dare.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyscraper#History

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Today, skyscrapers are an increasingly common sight where land is expensive, as in the centres of big cities, because they provide such a high ratio of rentable floor space per unit area of land. They are built not just for economy of space; like temples and palaces of the past, skyscrapers are considered symbols of a city's economic power. Not only do they define the skyline, they help to define the city's identity.

The first statement is practical; it explains the need for a skyscraper. The second is much more ideological, "How can we be a great place without a skyscraper?" My issue is with the latter idea, especially sans the density.

Oh, and just for kicks:
http://www.bysp.com/projects/pdf/proj10/proj6.pdf
 


stephendare

December 29, 2010, 10:57:02 AM
But these are all things that have occurred to us in the retrospect, arent they?

What forces brought the technology, designers, and new materials together to create the sky scraper.

If you remember from history, they were actually controversial and widely deemed unsafe.  There were a number of associations and unions that would not work on the construction of a skyscraper.  Not enough to stop the wave, obviously, but still they werent greeted with universal acclaim.

And there were other solutions possible, many of which were also being exploited.  In Seattle and Detroit things were going underground.  Even in Chicago there was a good amount of work tunnelling to create more space. 

So why not those solutions?

I think you have to look at what kind of businesses built and operated the new buildings, aaronious.

AaroniusLives

December 29, 2010, 11:16:50 AM
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I think you have to look at what kind of businesses built and operated the new buildings, aaronious.

Alas, today, I have to conceptualize campaigns to market language-learning to y'all.

stephendare

December 29, 2010, 11:34:25 AM
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I think you have to look at what kind of businesses built and operated the new buildings, aaronious.

Alas, today, I have to conceptualize campaigns to market language-learning to y'all.


lol. In retrospect, I think you will wince when you reread this comment. ;)

Take it on as a thought exercise.  When I did this myself a few years ago, backed up by research, I was even more surprised.

AaroniusLives

December 29, 2010, 12:23:31 PM
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lol. In retrospect, I think you will wince when you reread this comment. Wink

Entirely intentional.
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