1/12/2009

Is Vinyl Final?

While cruising the Hydraulics over the weekend we spotted these two 'vinyl victorians' on North Division, near Grosvenor Street (live map).
IMG_0112
Chris Hawley has a few words to say about the intersection of various cultural influences, these houses and Buffalo's place in time in this recent post - Urban Scene of the Week.
The suburban lifestyle is losing popularity, and in-town living is in vogue like never before... but as older building stock continues to be demolished and replaced with "vinyl victorians" in down-on-their-luck neighborhoods all over the city, one wonders when it will finally be okay for Buffalo to be itself again.
I'll be adding additional places to my vinyl collection this year. Seems like they keeping popping each time we demolish places that can't be replaced.
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
See My Vinyl Collection for additional inspiration.
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8 comments:

Chris Hawley said...

Love it!

Great tour! Let's do it again soon. I have a lot to share on the Hydraulics!

Anonymous said...

AS THE tedious and costly maintenance of wood painting, scraping etc. becomes a reason as to why people can no longer afford their homes, vinyl has proven to be a cost effective way to preserve the exterior of their homes and maintain it' value.
Brick is costly initially, but has very little maint costs, perhaps a reason as to why developers choose to use little if this in trying to keep these homes affordables. After all, not all these owners make 100k a year as the critics and Monday morning afficiandos of architecture, here in Buffalo!
Btw , given the facts stated as above...what do you offer as a solution, other than your sarcastic criticisms of vinyl!!?

MJ said...

I think the issues are

1) The site layout of these properties do more harm than their covering.

2) I prefer the vinyl over the asbestos shingles and fake asphalt brick that popped up mid last century.

3) The needs to be some education on what can be done with totally gutting existing properties and creatign something really special, pry for th esame price of demo and rebuild.

houses rehabbed said...

Other cities have built affordable housing that is much more traditional in appearance than the Vinyl Victorian. Vinyl is definitely not final. In Boston, I have seen affordable brick housing. In Charlotte, there is Hope VI housing that looks traditional. Traditional designed housing is NOT custom designed housing. Has it ever occurred to the City's Planning Department to explore what other cities do? Ah, the rhetorical question.

Crisa said...

...whose idea was it to name the lovely houses pictured in this topic Vinyl Victorian? That sounds so nice!

(And that pic is great! It combines the dreariness of winter with the loveliness of those houses! It's a great pic for selling Buffalo.)

And, remember too that they are not "suburban style" (or even "suburban-style"); they are actually American Middle-Class in 20th century style--and that 'American Middle-Class Style' or 'Middle-Class Style' naming is my wording!

Concerning vinyl, brick, asbestos and asphalt used for siding buildings:

It is much too soon to tell how durable the present, better grade of vinyl will be in the long- running, although it IS looking good for 50 years of only fading happening--(vinyl paints up nicely).

Unlike in the past 100 years, it is now known that bricks most certainly DO have to be preserved from weather for the long-running.

Asphalt lasts a long, long time and paints up very well with a satin or more durable paint.

And, asbestos; oh asbestos:

1)Asbestos manufactured into a solid form and used as siding has no ill effects on the public.

2)Asbestos IS FIREPROOF.

3)Asbestos is a definate killer (Mesothelioma) for the WORKERS who were exposed to it though, so, therefore...

4) Produced with care for WORKERS, asbestos may be making a comeback, especially as siding, because, as per its original reason for manufacture...SEE 2).

Remember that there is no "maintenance free" effectual past maybe 20 years. In order to look nice, all surfaces eventually need a makeover.

And, many houses with faded woodframe can be preserved with the four forementioned sidings--well, not brick. Brick isn't a siding, for whatever happens to brick, on the outside of a structure, it IS the ACTUAL WALLS.

Does anyone else feel a need to break up long comments with more paragraphs; proper sentence structure be darned?

Chris Hawley said...

The vinyl isn't the problem; it's the symbol.

The bad planning is the problem: large lot sizes, the displacement of existing housing, the construction of low quality new housing in a declining population scenario, the poor design, the poor siting, the lack of pedestrian connectivity to potential/existing retail and transit nodes, and the negation of community character.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the solution:

More rehabs.

STEEL said...

No, the solution is to have an actual plan which includes a goal that is realistic and has lasting results.

The current plastic house construction schemes combined with erratic tear downs gives no hint that there is a plan