Whenever someone adds me on the Facebook (yes, I still say the Facebook) I check two numbers: how many friends they have and how many photos they are tagged in. If either of these numbers is over 1,000 I am immediately suspicious. I wonder “who is this Sally Social and why aren’t they un-tagging all these unflattering photos being drunk and tacky?” Maybe this is some new measure of success, the kilofriender, but for me this quantity of social networking indicates a lower quality of friendly interactions.
I say all of this because I’m not sure how to gauge the success of this multi-unit housing Jewel by Kavellaris Urban Design. The photos of these project are compelling, but folks who have actually seen the project up close say unfriendly things: that it has sloppy or tacky detailing. I’m not sure how much privilege the beautiful detail should have because not every project is designed by Carlos Scarpa or Peter Zumthor, and I suspect that the details detractors are talking about with this project are moments where it isn’t clear that the architect is knowledgeable about how to join materials, turn corners, or somehow control the realization of the project. Some poor details are inexcusable, but some architects are more interested in other things: the sculptural mass of their projects, or the programmatic juxtapositions. Does this make them a bad architect? I happen to like the pleated jig-jag of this project’s massing even if I can’t tell too much about how the handrails are attached. I would still friend Jewel on the facebook just to see its photos.
The fact that it looks better in photos than in real life makes it a typical kilofriender. At least Jewel has had to good sense to exclude photos of its allegedly tacky details.