Chophouse Row - May edition

What is the urban fabric? 

Chophouse Row mews - an alleyway "carved" into the Chophouse building - an old, one-story autorow "relic." The concrete frame and clay tile are left, and the wood decking is used as cladding for the new building.

Chophouse Row mews - an alleyway "carved" into the Chophouse building - an old, one-story autorow "relic." The concrete frame and clay tile are left, and the wood decking is used as cladding for the new building.

Chophouse Row mews - the 5'-0" easement between the original Chophouse and the Linen-Baker Building next door. 

Chophouse Row mews - the 5'-0" easement between the original Chophouse and the Linen-Baker Building next door. 

I frequent neighborhood and city blogs and I always, always read the comments in regards to new development and architecture. One of the main complains is the "boxiness" of new construction: "sterile" "boring" "blank" "uninspired" "generic" "shitty" are used, along with developer techie hate. The worship of old, weathered brick buildings is a reverie many of these residents share. What is it about these buildings that invoke this undying, relentless love?

View from the top of Chophouse Row down to the adjacent Pacific-Chop building. Leaving the skeleton makes a great "outdoor room" for restaurants and offices.

View from the top of Chophouse Row down to the adjacent Pacific-Chop building. Leaving the skeleton makes a great "outdoor room" for restaurants and offices.

A large part of this project- money, time, headaches- were spent on preserving and reusing a substantial part of the existing structure versus tearing it down. This was met with many happy residents- positive comments, amazed faces, an enthused dialogue.

Diagram illustrating half the block (12th-Pine-11th-Union) and it's future connectivity. The original Chophouse is in blue. Wood salvaged from the Chophouse was reused as cladding and carpentry material.

Diagram illustrating half the block (12th-Pine-11th-Union) and it's future connectivity. The original Chophouse is in blue. Wood salvaged from the Chophouse was reused as cladding and carpentry material.

I've noticed a few characteristics between these beloved but historically unimportant buildings that the populace - myself included - love so much. 

  1. Brick, clay, weathered concrete, timber, and rusted steel. There's something strangely comforting in inhabiting relics and ruins. Kindles curiosity and the imagination.
  2. One story, two stories max. This does two things: the entire building is within human senses and limits and it doesn't block off sun and sky. Being able to see sky does a lot to the human psyche.
  3. Large windows, in a more square proportion, usually between chunky columns. These bays organize shops or restaurants visually. These windows are usually not floor to ceiling and are a variety of colors.
  4. Most of these buildings do not deploy anti-homeless, anti-loitering architectural features. 

Hopefully I expand on these later.