Update: Check out proposed fixes for Di Rimini project

October 6, 2010
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DiRimini fixes thumbThe developer of the Di Rimini apartment project at the southeast corner of Capitol Avenue and St. Clair Street has proposed a series of fixes in hopes of DiRimini fixes 2 thumbwinning approval from the city's planning staff. Among the additions: Masonry work on the entire first floor along Capitol and St. Clair, pillars made of synthetic stucco to give the building a more vertical look, black fencing to resemble the balconies, new residential doors, two new windows on the retail tower and awnings that had been ordered before the stop-work order. The city's planning staff is preparing a response to the proposal but already has suggested the changes will not be adequate to address 35 violations found with the building. To catch up on the controversy to date, read an earlier post here. What do you think of the proposed fixes?

  • no
    It reminds me of a bad looking car that someone bought a bunch of stickers to try and jazz it up. Underneath, is still a bad looking car.

    Do not approve!
  • F --> D-
    The city is correct, that is not adequate. And for some reason those railings on the upper levels make it look like a jail to me.
  • Blah
    Looks like a Courtyard by Marriott. BOOOORRRRIIIINNNNGGGG......
  • Too bad
    Design like this, whether 'fixed up' or not happens in every city across the country, but it is sad every time it occurs. This level of design (dictated by the low budget and developer's lack of any community appropriateness) is simply not acceptable.
  • Me too..
    CorrND... I thought it looked like a jail too. It's just ugly.
  • Lipstick on a PIG
    Lipstick on a PIG. It's Still a PIG!! The entire corner needs to be covered in limestone on all three stories. Actual balconies built, and the columns made of limestone.
  • Ideas for the redesign
    Here are some things to consider when redesigning this building (or designing any buildings in downtown Indianapolis):
    1. Longevity. Imagine how this building will look in 100 years and then plan accordingly.
    2. Design experience. Hire an architect who has a long list of similar projects in her portfolio.
    3. Streetscape. Build the façade even with the existing â??fabricâ?? of the buildings on adjacent blocks to maintain a physical boundary for continuity.
    4. Materials. Use brick, stone, concrete, glass, metals, etc. for the building skin. These require little maintenance and are extremely durable.
    5. Structural integrity. Columns should sit on something; they do not normally float in the air, nor should they appear to be glued onto another material. Heavier elements should not sit on other elements that appear too weak to support them. The same idea goes for quoins, buttresses, pilasters, etc. Ancient architects used a winning 3-part formula for columns: base, body/shaft and capital. Unless youâ??re dead-set on something ultramodern, this concept works for buildings as well.
    6. Basements. Always plan for below grade parking, storage and/or mechanicals. This is an up-front expense, but it pays itself off very quickly in urban markets.

    Here are some things to avoid when redesigning this building (or designing any buildings in downtown Indianapolis):
    1. Random-cut stone masonry. This looks fine in the suburbs or in rural areas, but downtown is a much more formal area. Donâ??t pick up your prom date on your riding mower.
    2. Fabric awnings on upper levels. Awnings over storefronts look great, but they need to be cleaned and maintained regularly. When you have them hanging off the façade at the 4th floor, you just know theyâ??re going to end up battered, ripped and filthy because you will need to rent a â??cherry-pickerâ?? to access them.
    3. Fake stucco. â??EIFSâ?? is another exterior finish best suited for one-story buildings like strip malls, homes and elementary schools. Although some types are more durable than before, none compare to masonry, glass, metals or concrete.
    4. Fake architectural elements. Avoid using off-the-shelf items and decorations. Real balconettes are installed in front of doors, not windows (hint: we can see through them). Real shutters open and close, and are mounted inside, not outside, the window trim.
    5. Individually controlled lighting. In urban settings, rely on public streetlamps and well-designed lighting maintained by the building owner. Individually controlled lighting should be avoided, as it inevitably becomes uncoordinated between residents. Non-uniform lighting (some on/some off, bulbs of differing colors and wattage, etc.) gives the appearance of disrepair and neglect.
    6. HVAC grills and dryer vents on the façade. If youâ??re building downtown, congratulations, youâ??re in the big leagues now. But know that there will be some value-engineering items you shouldnâ??t expect to get away with here, one being residential-grade heating and air conditioning. Be prepared to buy a real HVAC system and have your structural engineer brace the roof for air handlers.
    7. Above grade parking. Unless youâ??re designing a proper parking garage, donâ??t waste prime leasable space on cars. Indy cannot yet sustain the market that allowed Chicagoâ??s Marina Towers.
  • well
    The quoins are a good idea, but need to be carried around the corner and visually supported from the ground. (That single column "holding up" the floating box is kind of a joke.)

    The fake classical columns are just wrong, but the vertical lines do break up the mess. (Plain straight white columns with minimal capitals would probably work.)

    The redesign keeps the brown horizontal lines, which need to go.

    The doors and windows need some detailing.

    Even if the faux-Euro theme is completely applied, the best look it can achieve is an interstate-interchange hotel.

    Alternately, the whole exterior could be redone as something completely modern and funky.
  • Not bad
    I dunno, it still looks nicer than anything else on that block.
  • from dumb to dumber
  • What?
    It looks even more ridiculous now... its like a case study on the stupidity of poorly applied details - and that's after the fiasco of the actual design.

    Throw it out. I'd rather have a gas station or car wash.
  • What was originally approved?
    Cory, could you put up a link showing what was originally approved?
    Fix the stucco facade with more stucco that "looks like" the elements you were supposed to include in the first place. Add some fake patio railing. Lame. Putting up fake, faux details just makes it look even more like you were trying to be cheap. What a shame.
  • Although this sounds mean, the City needs to make sure the time and money it costs the developer is more than it would have taken to do it right. If they get out of this cheaper and quicker than the right way, it will encourage other developers to bait and switch.

    Just like a stop and go penalty in racing, you need to take away the "advantange" of cheating/not following the rules.
  • try again
    It still looks look like it's made out of particle board.

    And tacking on a bunch of decorative exterior knick-knackery is just making it worse.

    I've said it before, but this thing looks like it was designed using "Be Your Own Architect!" software at Home Depot with leftover pieces from a bargain bin.


    Based on the renderings, the landscaping is the only part that has any potential to improve the project. But it's wrong too.

    Put the lawn/buffer between the street and sidewalk, not between the building and sidewalk.

    Any "lawn" in an this setting should function as a barrier between cars and people, not buildings and people.

  • start over
    As I commented on the earlier post on this story, make 'em tear it down and start over. If they don't have the money to do so too bad, they're the ones that screwed up.
  • Columns
    Awesome...I believe that plastic columns like those in the rendering are on special at Menard's.
  • dirimini
    if you can build a garage too close to the lot line, or too high, why not see if one can get a variance with an apartment/condominium.

    make 'em tear it down. their problem, not ours.
  • I know
    It's flat. It needs...cleavage.
  • Why did it take so long?
    I drove past this building everyday and early on wondered what was something that looked like prison architecture doing around the corner from the cultural trail. Didn't any of those who approved the original building occasionally drive down Capitol?
  • IndyArchitect
    This looks like a bad photoshop attempt by a first year architecture student. I'm especially unimpressed by the fake columns that they plastered on the rendering. I am also amazed that this would even be considered. Frankly, I would rather see the empty lot there than this thing. One of the worst urban projects that I've ever seen in a major metropolitan area.
  • Uggh!
    I remember being astounded when I saw this building going up, wondering how it got approved. We've had some bad architecture in the city, but this has to top all. I agree completely with an earlier comment - the proposed fixes are "lipstick on a pig."
  • What a joke
    I agree with all of the above posters who said this looks like a prison. But just like the ugly BW3s downtown, our city will let this go by. I wonder how far along this would have gotten in Carmel. I would bet not close as far as it made it in Indianapolis!
  • Not Limestone... Not even close.
    Adding even more fake stone and EFIS doesnt help. It's too bad this had to be built near the Cultural Trail and that really cool warehouse building accross the street.
  • BLECcccccchhh
    FAIL. More failure from the City under Ballard. Just bulldoze and start over.

    Who would live there? Maybe Shelbyville will haul it away for us?
  • Is it Time for an Architectural Review Board?
    Everyone can see that this recent addition to the City's fabric has exposed a flaw with the State Design Release and Local City Permitting System ... that is merely "fee" based, and strongly concerned with Life/Safety Building Codes, which from a capital and people basis point of view is important, but doesn't seem good enough. They rarely, until recently were concerned with monitoring the Model Energy Code; they seldom found time to allow for pre-design meetings whereby the "innovation" in architecture could occur by the pier-review process of identifying what Codes could be offset by variance and substitution, making a building more responsive to context and insight, especially in the downtown arena (the very reason we don't have one internationally recognized building built within the last 50-years, except Clues Hall & the Pyramids); it is simple, in the end, we need to create what Chicago and Cincinnati have, an Architectural Review Board, and do do it one better, staff it with both young and old, creative and influential, professionals ... not aristocrats, but folks with a view to what the City of Indianapolis and to a certain extent, what it is the Indiana wants to project to the Mind's Eye of its Kids, its Citizens, and the Tourists who are now finally finding it enjoyable to come here.

    This design as currently red flagged and now proposed to be changed, reinforces the stigma and commercial, that there isn't more than "corn" or standard fair in Indiana. I believe, as a practicing Architect, and one who started out his career restoring buildings and later thinking of new Challenges in Design at schools in Cincinnati and London, UK, and after living here raising our kids since 1987 ... know that the potential is there for better ideas in Architecture, let alone that we are due as a State and A City to grow toward bettering other things we were once regarded as simply the Best ... our ability to Adapt, Adopt, and Innovate.

    Indiana, and Indianapolis our time is now, to ask for and demand from ourselves the best, and no less from developers or OWners of Buildings who want to remain "good citizens" within our fabric. To create Well Built Architecture that has Meaningful Design Intention, which is currently lacking at this Site, it takes hard work by the Architect of Record, not necessarily more funds, but money that is spent for enduring effects. It does not mean that we have to resort to a modern cheap "decorated shed" mentality or monumentalism per the classical models of the past. What I suggest is bacl to the drawing board drafting of a building that inspires first the inhabitants who plan to use the facility, along with a gesture tot he urban fabric it is a member of ... a balance must be struck between these. Do this gesturing well, and the public and the critic will take notice, and applaud the attempt ... because in this economy, few projects have the budget to do so, unless they are subsidized like the New Airport and the New Stadium. Do we know what we want to see and are we willing to pay the price for both expecting it and setting standards to safe guard its production?
  • Original Proposal
  • what a pile of steaming dog doo
    Jeff said: "Everyone can see that this recent addition to the City's fabric has exposed a flaw with the State Design Release and Local City Permitting System ..."

    The reason this project hasd 35 violations and is in "design-violation" has NOTHING to do with the City's code enforcement folks. Neither the City, nor the State have ever, nor should they ever, have a say on "design," unless the project sits within a district requiring approval from someone like IHPC, or is beyond the scope of zoned use, for which the project must obtain a variance, through which the project must adhere to certain conditions based on the approval.

    The idea of design-police is limiting to our liberties and designers, and has no place in the government's realm, as long as the project fits within the already established criteria. If the development's plan exceeds the criteria, all bets are off and we already have to fight the zoning board for approval (as well as give into bad designs ideas on occasion under the guise of "compromise").
  • ...and he's going to live there?
    Surprised the developer made the buidling so ugly...since he is going to be living there. The top floor corner unit (the part that is bumped out) is the developer's condo. The view from the balcony off of his bedroom is amazing. Too bad he doesn't have to see this ugly building from his condo. Also,the model has very high end finishes/appliances/etc, but these same finishes/appliances/etc were not used in the other units. Renter beware...
  • Hmmm...
    Maybe they should just leave it. Its actually kind of hilarious to look it. I could use a good laugh driving that stretch.

    Plus, he could keep his liberty as a designer... give me a break.
  • Not Good Enough
    What a half hearted attempt. How about addressing the actual building violations and not just trying a cheap cosmetic fix that I'm sure will look terrible as well. Admit your mistake and take your lumps.

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