Thursday, February 4, 2010
The Grove never fails to fascinate me. According to developer Caruso Affiliated it is built in a signature, eponymously named "CarusoStyle," which must mean a cartoon style of an original archetype, to paraphrase James Howard Kunstler. There's indeed a lot of cartooning going on in this photo.
Let's start with the Palazzo apartment complex on the left, designed to evoke the rust-colored village of Sienna — only gated, stuccoed, and cut off from the rest of the world. Its exaggerated style (too-bright color, too many gables) is an attempt to avoid being dwarfted by the six-lane road it faces.
Lines of dance dot the intersection as you cross to the southeast corner of The Grove, which is also over-built in a large Vegas casino style to be readable from a speeding car's point of view. The giant awnings + massive moulding, that huge, ornamental cupola, the grand-ish staircase entrance that sees almost no foot traffic — all these features do their best to disguise what is basically a big-box (archaic: department) store designed for maximum customer traffic + minimum staff. The plants down by the staircase feel like a token gesture — a sprig of parsley huddled against a 72-oz finish-it-and-it's-free steak.
Narrowing this street makes sense in that it brings together two major hubs of residence + commerce, but it also has the odd side effect of emphasizing the giant proportions of its car-centric building design. See it narrowed!
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