Disappointment


Disappointment

Originally uploaded by paytonc.

Catesby Leigh, “California Dreaming” in Princeton Alumni Weekly, 15 Sep 2004:

Another disappointment for Moule, Polyzoides, and other New Urbanists is the Playa Vista project in Los Angeles’ Westside section. In 1989, the couple was invited to join the project by Duany and Plater-Zyberk, whom Polyzoides had encountered as a teaching assistant at Princeton’s architecture school. Moule and Polyzoides wound up leading a team of high-profile architectural firms in the design of a new community on this 1,087-acre site fronting on the Pacific Ocean. Their models were cities like Beverly Hills and Pasadena.
Playa Vista was intended to relieve the acute housing shortage in Westside, known for its concentration of high-end, high-tech industries and services. Though the design produced by the architects assumed restoration and preservation of 300 acres of wetlands on the previously industrial site, environmentalists resisted any development at all, a contributing factor in the developer’s loss of the property. The project has gone forward under new management, and the amount of land set aside for conservation has been doubled. But while Playa Vista’s mixed-use character has been retained, Moule and Polyzoides express bitter disappointment with the project’s quality. “It’s unrecognizable to me,” Polyzoides says sadly of the portion constructed to date. “It’s absolutely unlike anything we ever imagined.” Unfortunately, New Urbanist knockoffs are not an uncommon phenomenon.

One of the rare project with participation from four CNU founders, unrecognizably dumbed down by a new developer.

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