Taking butt ugly to a whole new level
Commentary by Bryan Tagas
Those Madison Parkers who were already bemoaning the loss of what they believe was the "village-like character" of the neighborhood now have something to really wail about: these twin duolithic three-story block houses, which have arisen at the northeast corner of E. Lynn St. and 42nd Avenue E. Village-like, they're not.
In the more than four years that I've been writing about Madison Park real estate, only once have I taken an editorial position trashing the design of a residence. But these challenging additions to the neighborhood practically cry out for a rebuke. In my opinion, this development is a rude imposition on an unsuspecting neighborhood.
Of course when I say "unsuspecting" I'm overstating the case, since even before this property was developed there were a few who warned that nothing good would come of the City's allowing two new houses to be built on what had previously been a single lot. At the request of the property owner, the lot was approved for subdivision in 2010. That decision was controversial because of a City rule that allows residential lots to be divided into two in cases where the existing property already contains multiple legally rentable structures. That grandfathering applied to this property (4202 E. Lynn Street), on which sat two buildings containing three rental units:
|The site as it looked in 2010|
What has replaced those relatively charming 1940's bungalows are two giant stucco box structures, each containing almost 3,400 sq. ft. You can own one for $1.6 million.
Architecturally unredeemed, devoid of street appeal, and sitting like two office buildings suddenly dropped into our midst, these structures might cause even a confirmed libertarian to support creation of an architectural commission with the power to enforce some standard of taste on future neighborhood development.
"Eyesores" is what one neighbor calls them. "Monstrosities" is another term that readily comes to mind. And while the buildings are being marketed as having "contemporary styling," for me, at least, this is not about "contemporary" versus "traditional." It is not even primarily about not respecting the character of the community. It's really about bad design versus good design.
There are plenty of examples scattered throughout the neighborhood of modernistic, boxy structures that many would argue are good examples of "contemporary styling." A possible case in point:
|2032 41st Avenue E.|
"Contemporary" does not have to also mean "cringe worthy."