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Friday, May 7, 2010

The Loss of a Historic Building May be a Win for the Neighborhood

When, exactly, is the above statement true?

When, and only when, the replacement of the historic building is a thoughtful, well-crafted one that advances the neighborhood. Vacant lots and out-of-scale shoehorns need not apply.

6323 Arthur in Lindenwood Park (also known as the Linden Heights subdivision) was a small, frame front gable home in disrepair. In a neighborhood noted for its stability and high levels of owner-occupancy, the vacant, deteriorating home definitely stood out.

6323 Arthur, before. Courtesy of Geo St. Louis.

Today, the site is home to new construction (by Blue Brick Construction). I feel the replacement meets our simple litmus test outlined above. The small frame home could have been restored with careful TLC into something quaint and yet affordable. But the replacement solved its vacancy and solidified this neighborhood all at once. Would this infill look good in Benton Park West, replacing a solid red brick four-family? Of course not. In Lindenwood Park, it manages a persona that is both classy/traditional and, subtly so, sleek/contemporary.

 6323 Arthur, after. Photo courtesy of Blue Brick.

Is this the best case of a net positive historic preservation tradeoff? Maybe not. But I enjoy this infill and am happy the little home on Arthur did not die in vain.


samizdat said...

Good infill. Matter of fact, this house, with its fiber-cement siding, looks quite a bit better than the vinyl-clad structures on either side of it. And framing the windows with the moulding is an excellent aesthetic choice. That doesn't often happen. Most, if not all, of the vinyl siding I've seen just doesn't have the right shadow lines. Not to mention the waviness inherent in most installations.

Michael R. Allen said...

I think that this house would look great in Benton Park West, although not if it replaced a brick four-family.

Matt M. said...

To each his own; I think this style works great for Lindenwood Park.

BC said...

I think this is really attractive. Perfect for Lindenwood Park.

As samizdat said, the moulding is what really makes this place stand out, for me anyway. It's the details that make or break most infill...I think this one gets it mostly right.

I love the front door.

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