Those drab “luxury” condos and apartments? “Policymakers, pretty much across the board, don’t value design.”


I’m just trying to figure out why The Breakwater Lofts at Duggins Flats gets an exemption from the street spam ordinance.

Those ‘Luxury’ Condos Look A Little Drab (WBUR)

In cities like Seattle, Boston, Denver and Charlotte, new “luxury” condos and apartment buildings are going up to meet demand for new housing. But many of these buildings look like simple, plain boxes.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with architecture critic and author Sarah Williams Goldhagen (@SarahWGoldhagen) about what makes these buildings “poor,” “boring” architecture, and how monotonous architecture actually negatively affects us.

On why there are so many of these kinds of buildings being built

“There are a lot of different reasons for it. If you separate it out into supply and demand, one is that that’s what’s being built, so that’s what’s cheap to build, because the wheels are greased for that kind of architecture. Buy in bulk. That’s what the market has been giving and so it’s easy to give that. The second reason is that there’s a general point of view, both among real estate developers, who are building these buildings, and among clients who are buying these buildings, that good design … is an unaffordable luxury. And we know two things now: one, it’s not unaffordable. It costs just as much to build a well-designed building as a poorly designed building. And neither is it a luxury because the research is clearly showing that people actually respond very poorly to those bad buildings.