Alpharetta’s Faux Finish City Center Plan

Alpharetta was presented an update on the private development at City Center by Mid-City Real Estate Partners last Monday night at City Council meeting.

We continue to be amused at the statements of Cheri Morris, of Morris and Fellows, one of the partners on the project.  Ms. Morris, in one single presentation, cites the great Arts and Crafts Movement architect Charles Voysey, as her inspiration on the City Center project, while at the same time making sure we understand that City Center has only the “look” of Mr. Voysey; that what appears to be separate buildings in the renderings are all one building on the inside but with faux exterior details that mimic the old village or downtown.  “This is reminiscent of Bull Street in Savannah”.  And, “this is reminiscent of the wildly popular Ponce City Market.  But,  not these places.  Not at all.

Ponce City Market is housed in a true historic building.  The brick, facade, arches and glass – all real historic features – not features that were manufactured to ‘look’ historic.

IMG_0523IMG_0419 IMG_0423 That the old Sears building is in use today at all is testimony to utilitarian simplicity, good bones and durable building materials.

The true test of the 168 luxury apartments, 75,000 square feet of office space and various retail and restaurant spaces at City Center will be, not only their desirability in terms of location, but also quite simply, how well they are built and how genuine they are to the place, this place – Alpharetta.

But, why should we expect anything but the standard of “faux” and “looks like” from a project that will tumble our historic red oak tree?  I ask you, will they be replacing it with a look-alike historic tree?  One with a faux finish?

The great Arts and Crafts Movement architect Charles Voysey, the very one referenced by Ms. Morris,  once said,

“If in our work we express a love of truth, we are not expressing ourselves, but the ideas and sentiments common to all good men. The same may be said of dignity, grace, restraint, simplicity or magnificence and generous plenty. All these are proper objects of thought common to mankind and the fit subjects of architectural expression. … If we are asked to produce anything which conscience pronounces to be wrong, we must refuse emphatically, and be prepared to suffer for such refusal. … how full all architectural expression is of the thought and feeling of the country and time of its production, proving how little value there is in that which is purely our own, and that only noble thoughts, ideas and feelings, to which we can all aspire are of lasting value.”

5 Replies to “Alpharetta’s Faux Finish City Center Plan”

  1. Yeah, I don’t get all the “inspired by,” “tribute to,” and/or “look” copycat architecture. Just design it well and use quality materials and it will stand on its own.

  2. The important thing, apparently, is that the apartments will hide the brand new City Hall. Because that’s what a smart mayor and city council does – spend a lot of public money to build a pretty building, and then turn over the public land in front of it to a private developer to build apartments. Brilliant!!

  3. Do a Google image search on “Town Hall” or “City Hall” and take a look at all the beautiful buildings just like our new building. Now tell me. How many of them have a bunch of apartments stuck in front of them?

    1. It is my understanding that there is only one image that counts – and that one is Bull Street in Savannah. Google that and you will understand. So much for Alpharetta…

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