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Have You Seen This Building?

Have you ever wondered why so many of today’s new apartment buildings look similar to one another? The height might change, and the colors, but unlike buildings constructed 100 years ago that all had very distinguishing features, today’s buildings tend to clump together aesthetically speaking. A few months ago, Curbed posted an article calling out the uninspired buildings for what they are – quick, inexpensive, and practical solutions for an age that cares more about about cost and functionality, not aesthetics and craftsmanship.

These days, many designers and architects have their hands tied. One local designer told me that by the time his ideas get to the builders, they are stripped down to where they are almost recognizable, not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. Or the builders themselves are now the designers, because they know where to cut the corners, which is why everything starts to look the same. 

Other reasons behind this formulaic building pattern? Some say that it’s easier to get the structures rubber stamped and approved because they all pretty much perform the same. That equates to being value-engineered – just switch up the dimensions to fit the property, throw on a new configuration of pop-out box windows, choose the drab color of the metal siding, add a splash of faux brick, and voilà!

Then there’s the always the problem of the rendering vs. the final design – over and over we have seen projects get watered down to a point where they look nothing like the original proposal.

This is not just a Buffalo issue – it’s an issue that we are seeing all across the US.

For more on this development, be sure to check out this article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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