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An Argument Against Architectural Cloning

February 24, 2005 Planning & Design 11 Comments

Hampton Village (Hampton & Chippewa) is like an old friend – not perfect but familiar. Below is the main corner building that houses the JC Penny store. A little predictable but reasonably well proportioned. Large cupola and weathervain – not exactly my style but OK.

hv1.jpg

Then you’ve got the other old section to the North of the JC Penny. Oh look, another cupola.

hv2.jpg

In the last 10 years ago the Schnuck’s grocery store was built (started as a National). Here they have a modern take on the cupola. Getting a bit tired of the theme. As an aside, as soon as Schnuck’s took over the location they put up a huge “Double Coupons” sign in the front window. I’ve yet to see such signage in their West County stores. Perhaps municipalities out West have better signage ordinances? Perhaps Schuck’s just doesn’t want to clutter their stores in the county?

hv3.jpg

Back over to an older part we see another cupola on the section over the current Walgreen’s. Well, this is all on the same corner so I guess that wanted a consistent look.

hv4.jpg

But now we are getting new construction across Chippewa that is picking up the theme. The Dobb’s thankfully left off a cupola but picked up the gable and partial roof theme seen at Hampton Village. Not ground breaking but not overly offensive.

hv5.jpg

But now we have the new Walgreen’s under construction. Simply the sheer number of Walgreen’s stores is offensive to my eye. Recent Walgreen’s stores have this annoying 2nd floor window. It is interesting how most new stores try to look taller – as if they had real second floors. Most don’t have the cupola which seems required on this corner.

hv6.jpg

Please shoot me if the new Target store gets a cupola.

– Steve

  • rick

    When they were proposing this new Walgreen’s, it was a selling point that they were building it to blend in with Hampton Village. Remember?

    Recall the front page artist’s rendering published in the Journal? Didn’t it seem like the Dobbs was going to be built at street level and not down in a hole?

    [I don't recall seeing the original concepts.]

    And remember the art deco apartments that were demolished to make way for the project?

    [I do remember those - very nice. I had a friend that lived in one. What a shame...]

    Maybe we should start making bronze reliefs of our historic buildings that get torn down to make way for new Walgreen’s. We could stick them into the sidewalks in front of the new projects. Sort of like a demolition version of the Loop’s Walk of Fame…

    [That would involve a lot of bronze...]

    I must say, the new project is a far site better than the old Dobbs.

    [True, but almost anything new would have been better than the old Dobbs. I think this is the most minimal improvement.]

    Any idea what will be going into the soon-to-be vacant Walgreens (not to mention old Kinko’s/Jonny Brock’s) locations at Hampton Village?

    How about a
    1. Bandana’s
    2. Dewey’s Pizza
    3. Sit down steak house restaurant (a’la Longhorn or Outback)
    4. How about a neighborhood outpost for the Tap Room (sans the brewery , just selling food and beer)?
    5. What about a BWW, since they apparently have walked on Southtown?

    Any other suggestions?

    Steve, what would you like to see?

    RB

    [I don't really frequent chain places like Outback so that would do nothing for me. A south city version of a local place like the Tap Room would be cool. I think they'd say it was too close to Maplewood. I'm also a vegetarian so I don't first think of BBQ places either. Schnuck's wouldn't like it but I'd love to have a Trader Joe's there. What is BWW? Whatever goes in there, I'd like to see windows opened up to the street and to the parking area. - Steve]

  • http://www.history.org/Almanack/places/hb/hbpal.cfm Ted

    Just a side note, Hampton village is a knock-off of colonial Williamsburg, which is really just a knock-off of a colonial village. By itself though, it is an interesting structure, and it has its place in history. But that beside the point, I would hate for future generations to look back and not see anything our generation created. If they are going to build the one billionth WalgreenÂ’s, why shouldn’t it be something new and exciting, not a really cheap knock-off of a knock-off of a knock-off. We aren’t doing anything new, and we aren’t learning from our mistakes. We need to preserve the past, so we can look back and learn from it, only very carefully removing any of it, and we should build for the future so some day people can learn from us. We aren’t giving the future that opportunity, or even worse, we are painting them a very poor picture of ourselves that we are uncreative and cheap.

  • Ted

    P.S. When the tore down that art deco apartment building, they absolutely destroyed the composition of the street. The structures complimented each other; they were mirror images of each other. When they removed one, they ruined the whole idea of the street. That really bothered me.

  • http://tinotopia.com Tino

    The worst part might be that the Hampton Village medical building (i.e. where the current Walgreen’s is; the top floor — which is at ground level on the back side — has doctors’ offices in it) was actually much handsomer before they stuck that fake porch on it.

    The cupolas (cupolae?) have always been there, but the big one in the middle looked far less strange when it wasn’t overwhelmed by all that fakery: and the old awnings etc. were a lot lighter; they were attached *to* the facade rather than *being* the facade as the current ones are.

    There are a few very small pictures of the old look of the center (and a very bad shot of the incredibly idiosyncratic Schnucks/Bettendorf’s store (which also has a cupola) that used to be bang in the middle of the lot) here: http://stlouis.missouri.org/neighborhoods/history/southwest/commercial24.html

  • Brian

    I think the old Catholic Supply / St. Louis Cat Clinic building where the new Dobb’s now is had a cupola, or at least colonial architecture. So, that would be one new cupola (Walgreen’s) for one lost cupola (Catholic Supply).

    And no, the new Target won’t have a cupola. The store will look most like the newer Kirkwood store with a large Romanesque arch entryway, hardly colonial or art deco (SW City’s other predominant commercial style).

  • Michael Allen

    I don’t think there will be a cupola, but from what I’ve seen of the new Target there is plenty to hate — 30-feet setbacks from Chippewa and Hampton, some surface parking, etc. The design is pretty much in line with their newer stores — vaguely postmodern/minimal but not very sophisticated.

  • Darren

    My wife used to work out at the women’s fitness center next door to the walgreens. It’s her understanding that they intend to expand into the former walgreens space.

  • Matt

    “but from what I’ve seen of the new Target there is plenty to hate — 30-feet setbacks from Chippewa and Hampton, some surface parking, etc.”

    Hey Micheal, I just wanted to know if you had ever seen the old target store, or just don’t want to refer to it because you are trying to make a point? While this one may have a setback of around 30 ft, the old one was set back over a hundred feet, with a huge parking lot in front, and had loading docks on Chippewa. While the store could have been closer to the street, 30 ft is not a big deal in comparison to the former store. Would you rather they bring that one back? And no, it will not have a cupola, like was already stated.

    I don’t like the surface parking either, but the problem is, many older people I have talked to say they are actually afraid to use the garage. I guess they fear crime in an enclosed place. They are to old to get over all the myths of crime I guess. Kinda, sad, but not surprising.

    Personally, the cupolas don’t bother me, but to each his own.

  • http://www.eco-absence.org Michael Allen

    “Would you rather they bring that one back?”

    Hey Matt: Of course not. Did I ever say that?

  • Matt

    Ok, just wondering. It sort of sounded like you didn’t want this, but were ok with the old one. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Amy

    I can’t wait until Target is complete.
    McDonald’s doesn’t have a cupola. :)

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