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Michael Galbraith

The City-County building, like many others of the period focuses inward, ignoring the pedestrian and the outward facing streetscape. Unlike the buildings in the 1911 photo, which shows how close the buildings are to the street, the setback of the City County building is huge. Encouragement of smaller setbacks in the core of the city would be a boon to pedestrian use. For a good example see the setback of the new printing building at Main and Van Buren. Another interesting contrast between the 1911 and 2007 photos is the scale of enterprise. In the 1911 photo, dozens of small businesses line the street in dozens of different buildings, while 2007 shows the monolithic government complex of the City-County building. The jumble of closely related but not identical facade treatments and heights is a pleasant sight, as well as a signal of a healthy business atmosphere. We should be encouraging this type of infill in the city.

Alex Jokay

The idea that postmodern beats the hell out of modern is a crock, and it certainly doesn't apply in suburbia. Most of the sterile new subdivisions utilize architecture that is considered postmodern, yet there's never been less variety or atmosphere or charm. A jumble of closely related and much-too-identical facade treatments with plenty of different heights, but none of it interesting in the least.

The trouble with the City-County building is that its scale is all wrong for what surrounds it. Same problem with National City and Summit Square. They were designed to fit in with a cavernous downtown district that never materialized. They're products of an age that was forward-looking, but unfortunately too optimistic for this one-horse town.

Michael Galbraith

I agree that postmodern architecture does not beat modern architecture inherently. In fact I am quite a fan of modern architecture, and usually prefer it to postmodernism. Modern truly expressed its own strong point of view, while much of Postmodernism seems to be a self conscious reaction and negation of that view rather than an espousal of a "new" idea. My comment about the 1911 photo had as its point that the organic nature of multiple independent small design decisions created beauty, rather than an advocacy of a faux corporate approach that tries to recapture the past. The idea that a single entity simply cannot capture the inherent entropy of multiple decision makers is the point I was going for. The "city" and "suburbia" are two completely different environments and what is appropriate in one design arena may not always be successful in the other. As far as scale goes, you are absolutely correct. The scale of the building in relation to the scale of the current urban plan seems out of whack.

Scott Greider

I happen to think three of the best buildings in FW are the Performing Arts Center, the Anthony Wayne Building, and Summit Square! All three are very "modern", and all three evoke incredible senses of civic pride. Of course they're not small and old, but that doesn't make them bad.

In the rush to revitalize our downtown, let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. Not all new is bad, just as not all old is good. Let's be careful not to paint with too broadly a brush.

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