Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Architecture 101

If I were teaching design, perhaps in a high school, I think that on the first day of class, I'd distribute this comparison of Manhattan's Flatiron Building and Fort Lauderdale's condo complex called the Nautical Towers, and I would ask the class to write about why one works and the other does not. I'd also ask them to suggest improvements to the one that does not work. (No points for suggesting that it be demolished.)


Mark said...

it's awful.

It has no base. It has none of the horizontal rhythm supplied by the multiple uniformly sized windows that the Flatiron uses, along with it's beautifully detailed surface.

Those skinny balconies create a void at the apex, where the building should be most powerful.

And it appears to be leaning.

Or you've had a cocktail.

Tony Adams said...

Also, what you can't see just behind the pink precast railing is a forlorn kidney shaped pool. I have never seen anyone go near it.

Mike said...

The words "grace" and "elegance" don't come to mind for that Ft. Lauderdale cracker box. It looks like it's ready to topple over in the next hurricane.

Anonymous said...

I would Also point out the dreadful eaves, which add no decorative punch, unlike the cornice of the Flatiron Building. The balconies are hideous, and remind me of stained dentures. The Flatiron has the beautiful and proud stance of a ship's bow. The Nautical Towers looks like a shamed, tired, vessel amidst it's own dismantling at the shipyard.

Cooper said...

I know nothing about architecture, but I'll give it a shot:

1). Remove all the balconies.
2). Add detail between the rows of windows in the form of interesting friezes or mouldings.
3). Change the windows to something uniform and stream-lined like that of ship.
4). Paint the entire building a golden honey colour with a white under belly.
5). Remove the pink fence, and plant flowering bushes (at double the height of that fence).
6). Remove the pool and replace with a small fountain with mosaic tiles, and stone benches to sit on.

SubtleKnife said...

Living as close to Rotterdam as I do, I must say Nautical Towers is very aptly named. Most of what sails our oceans is as, if not less, graceful...

Anonymous said...

The most obvious flaw to me is where the flatiron is a response to the site (ie at a non-perpendicular crossing of streets), nautical towers (is there really more than one? ugh!) is a cheaper, uglier copy of an historic building that is "plopped" down in the middle of what was most likely a swamp and therefore, not a site-driven design.

Maybe someone was just flipping through an architecture magazine at a doctor's office, saw the flatiron building, and thought, "I bet I could do that in Florida!" But his wife sitting next to him said you had better put one of those kidney shaped pools next to that thing.

Anyway, other problems with n.t. is the irregular proportions, the lack of a strong base and the fact that is looks like a big wedge of white swiss cheese on toothpicks!

btw, missed seeing you at Blowoff NYC.


Anonymous said...

There is no comparison, but if only they had covered the bottom portion it would look much less like a chicken coop.

Rey D

Willym said...

preportion and location is the best I can say.

Anonymous said...


Glad to have my mini Flatiron sitting in my living room facing the real Flatiron.


Flatiron District