Urban Design Cliches for Any occasion
Thursday night's Casino Design Forum, which drew about 650 Philadelphians to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, was an attempt to do the impossible, which was to evaluate the city's five proposed casinos purely on urban design terms. The problem is that Philadelphia's casinos are neither very urban nor really designed. As buildings, they're more like shopping malls, whose appearance is governed by fixed design formulas. The Planet Hollywood Riverwalk is practically indistinguishable from a Target.
But that didn't stop the casino architects and planners from acting as if they were Andres Duany unveiling the latest scheme for a dense, walkable New Urbanist town. Here are some my favorite design cliches from the evening, which was sponsored by Penn Praxis and the Daily News. They just go to show that architects will say all the right things about all the wrong buildings. Every quote was uttered by a casino presenter.
"This is about connecting the community back to the river."
"This is the kind of project that, in ten years, is going to feel like it's been around 50 years."
"It respects the historic scale of the neighborhood."
"It connects to the neighborhood."
And my personal favorite, which was used to describe Foxwoods mid'-'80s theme park desiged with red brick and a vaulted, green metal roof:
"It's getting back to the kind of craft you see on City Hall."