5 August 2014

Snazz on Spielplazz


Condos ∕ Fiction

What’s that Eastern European, in-lawy-looking woman in white plastic slippers doing, leafing through a stack of mail she’s retrieved from one of the motley mailboxes, wire-tied to the galvanized construction fence, loosely arranged as a sort of abatis? Does she live here?

anybody home

It seems like only yesterday: this used to be a corner plot of leafy wilderness spawned by a protracted property dispute, with pairs of old shoes dangling from chain link fences. I hoped to myself that the dispute would never end, and that wilderness would prevail. A Red Cross old clothes bin always made me think of the sad incident where a man suffocated in one of these when he got trapped in the hatch trying to retrieve something. Then one day, the wilderness was a groundwater filled pit. Then came the prefab concrete walls, the aerated concrete blocks with mortar oozing from oversized grouts, the argon filled triple glazing cassettes, the acrylic render tanks, the stacks of Dow Styrene, the glossy lifestyle render on the construction board advertising. Just another building’s apparition, torn together by reversed explosion. Behind the fence, a slab of slate-colored stone-like material slapped onto a scrubs green chunk of styrene insulation slapped onto some wobbly trestles splattered with white goo. Windows splattered with the same white goo. Is that some sort of black granite they are putting up as a rainscreen? Real stone, a holocrystalline mass forged over hundreds of millions of years deep in the earth’s crust from molten magma or slowly accumulated sediments, concealing the expanded polystyrene at eye level? Around the doors, the PS gives way to real rock wool. Better for fires. The five floors above are covered in acrylic render.

flotsom abatis

What is this building, anyway; seemingly condensed from argon, aerated concrete, and styrene foam? High-end or trashy? Can I afford to live there, and would I want to? Is it cheap-looking or well made? Is this a cheap ass building or state-of-the-art? I have a hard time telling. The building looks kind of OK, I guess. At least it’s not a Noefer or a Kocher: can’t ask too much these days. It’s pretty well executed. The acrylic render is some of the finest around. Neat, straight edges, no dents. No swallow’s nests yet either, as in the EIFS across the street. Shame they made the whole thing visually top-heavy, with a change in color and a step in the render and more beefy loggias, literally setting the penthouses apart from the apartments below. So that the penthouses look more like houses. Too bad about that slight fender bender on the flashing on one of the penthouse’s loggias. Guess it got banged-up by one of the lifts hauling cheap ass facade up an down.

indecent exposure

Couldn’t they have averaged out the cost of the natural stone and the EIFS above to pay for a decent looking rainscreen across the whole facade? Then there wouldn’t be this large expanse of untreated acrylic render that I’m unsure about, aesthetically. That poplar needs to go a little more to the right to cover up that blank wall up. Oh wait, can’t photoshop in reality. And why do these buildings always have floor to ceiling windows? Is it cheaper to just make it all glass than to actually come up with a facade design, to pay for a rain screen, something nice to look at? Took my daughter to look at one of the apartment. 118m2. I think I managed to convince the Engels&Völkers agent that I could be for real, possibly. The flat looked great. We could put the shelves there, and a nice sofa … Does it have underground parking? Well yes, of course. Ok, good. But what does it cost? She wouldn’t say; gave me an exposé. The development’s named “Schatz am Kollwitzplatz”. It’s  not really on Kollwitzplatz, but on a Spielplatz a block away. I quickly leafed to the prices. 670K, plus agent’s fees. Well, that’s definitely high-end then, must be. This is some fine-ass piece of construction. Shiat, all that natural stone.

bench press goes there