Why do all new buildings in America look like this?


Lee Harvey Pozzwald said:
This sort of building style speaks to a design ethos that caters to millennials who want to live in mixed use developments and pay out the nose for the privilege.

Developers are all about cutting corners, doing things cookie-cutter, and are always unoriginal. The only thing that makes me angrier is that my compatriots are wasting their savings to live in soulless abodes like these.

Hate to sound like a boomer, but they need to get in houses.
yeah it's sad to say this, but goin into some of the old hoodrat areas of my nearest local city, They have better design than these "modern-esque" types of places that are being built.
This is the end result of POMO. When jails and apartment blocks start looking the same you know there is a real issue.

We're talking of a society-wide trend that favors sheer utility (in this case, maximizing usable space, cheap materials, boilerplate designs), to maximize profit.

Existing in a paradigm whereby individuals talk about a desire for deeper meaning, or as such, the aesthetic, we could call it, but at the same time these individuals that want this are shopping at Wal-Mart for the cheapest possible product, of the shoddiest standard, made by the worst labor (slave labor), to not last the test of time.

I pin the blame on urban planners. This country needs to have a real discussion about urban development. Unless Agenda 21 is forced down the whole of America's throats, we will have to find another way to develop. Millennials will be goaded (and are already doing it themselves) into using public transit, or Uber, which has some clear implications. For one, given the repopulation of urban zones we have to ask ourselves whether we favor automobile-oriented cities, or ones that operate on a pseudo-socialist public transit scheme. The complete buffoonery of urban planners when it comes to public transit leads me to conclude that this is not the way to go.

Zoning needs to be restructured that way hipster goons can live in affordable high rise apartment blocks, or maybe they could be confined to ghettos full of them, that way the eyesore is mitigated for the rest of us. American cities already operate on a de facto ghetto system, so I see it not being too difficult at all.


It looks like Bloomberg is asking themselves the same question...


The style is called five-over-one, and didn't get going until 1996. Before then stick-and-frame construction for multifamily was banned on account of wood's combustibility. With the advent of fire retardant sprayed on wood beams, developers slowly convinced municipalities to approve ever more dense projects.

To maximize the amount of available square footage the buildings generally conform to one of four design layouts. Architects aren't original at all (I can't stand them for the most part), so they just copy each other and throw in some buttugly brick or stucco to break up the uniform look of the facade.

Wood framing costs 30-40% less than rebar-concrete framing, hence why these five-over-ones have taken off. But I would bet that they will age quickly and become eye sores like most of the crap from the 50s, 60s and 70s.


Stockholm, Sweden copying the ugly, Brutalist architecture in the US with their new kindergarten building. Everything about this place is abhorrent: the concrete grey exterior, the asymmetrical windows, the metal cage that doubles as a staircase. This building is the antithesis of kid-friendly.



I'm not an architect so I don't know anything. but I talked with an architect about it and this is my amateur interpretation.

It's not just about earning the highest return on investment. Its also about ''sustainability'' now. A lot of money gets handed out to architects that go along with it. They have to use modern materials and follow the latest guidelines and hit these arbitrary numbers that mean the building is ''sustainable''. They spend a lot of time fussing about optimizing theoretical energy calculations in software programs. I'm guessing that leaves less time to think about design and liveability for humans.

The architects that bring up the point that these modern buildings are not sustainable at all just get laughed at for being old fashioned. If you do a full lifecycle calculation on everything that is involved with constructing these new buildings it becomes clear that they are far more demanding on the planet with the type of resources that are used. the energy consumption for the processing of those resources to get the final materials needed for the construction is also larger. Same goes for solar panes/windmills of course but in clown world logic and truth don't matter.

The architects who support that building with simple materials like brick and wood or are in favor of restoration/maintenance of what was already there is a minority ( like everywhere else we look now in society ).

Another point is that architects have a big ego and want to feel better than the ones that came before them. It's not enough to do something for the sake of doing good. they cannot just copy or restore buildings because that's the work of another architect. They crave recognition and appreciation so they need to have all the credit for themselves.

I guess its a combination of these things:

1: it has to be unique/different (satisfying ego)
2: it has to earn the highest ROI (satisfying investors)
3: it has to meet the arbitrary energy numbers (satisfying climate nuts)
= ever more grotesque creations.


The trees make it a little more bearable, and that it (from this perspective at least) is a single building in the midst of a remote area. I wouldn't say this is nice exactly, but it's better than brutalist buildings in the city where they're just endless and oppressive.
True. I think people's standards are lowered. A more classical/Gothic style of architecture would fit much better in the remote area.

Brutalist hideousness is much more obvious when they are more endless.

Meanwhile more older styles if done of the same scale as the brutalist buildings today will be much more heavenly by comparison.

London Bridge for example: