Toledo Talk

Tower on the Maumee

Anyone know or heard of any plans to "dress up" the exterior of the building? I'm thinking of improvements to exterior lighting, and maybe doing something with the flat brown panel side? Maybe a mural or something artistic to add color and life...something along the lines that has been done with skyscrapers in other metropolitan downtowns?

Its such a prominent part of the downtown skyline. I'd really think there is a opportunity to improve things. Ive often lamented how detrimental that empty building was to downtown and to the city's morale. Now I think it could have a total opposite affect. I doubt if I'll ever have a reason to ever use the building, but I sure will have to look at it a lot. Then again, Im just happy now when I see lights on thru the windows.

created by BulldogBuckeye on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:38:27 am     Comments: 34

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I have not, but I completely agree - lighting would be a huge improvement.

I know they plan on adding a light feature to the hi-level bridge and of course Promedica is doing a light feature and I am sure they will do additional lighting all around their complex.

Tower of the Maumee could really bring some life to the area if they do it right. I know people make fun of the Promedica green lighting everywhere, but personally when I'm driving on a pretty empty 475 at midnight its nice making the turn and seeing those green lights among a sea of dark.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:05:25 am     #  

I'd love to see Top of the Tower reopened.

A mural would look great but not sure how many people would see it being on the Jefferson Avenue side of the building unless it's painted higher up.

On the DTT facebook page they were promoting it to college student to rent. I hope this doesn't turn into college housing

posted by classylady on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:19:32 am     #  

I hear what you are saying, but not sure a mural or lighting would be the best solution. The building is inspired by International style of Mies van der Rohe and like many other buildings that were inspired by van der Rohe, they skimped on the details that make all the difference. They should have put bigger mullions between the windows and that giant block hanging off the south end of the building is ugly. The lobby is also low and dull.

Mies

Fiberglas

I still think it has potential though. We shall see.

posted by Ace_Face on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:14:58 pm     #  

My understanding from a friend that is involved with the construction is that aside from the windows being re-caulked and tinted, there will not be other significant exterior modifications.

posted by slowsol on Apr 19, 2017 at 01:23:45 pm     #  

A color fade on the elevator shaft (brown mass on the left side of the picture above) could be good, but I think that once the interior is reoccupied and relit, the building will pop.

posted by swampprof on Apr 19, 2017 at 09:27:03 pm     #  

I don't give a fuck what it looks like as long as it's fully occupied.

posted by upso on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:10:14 pm     #   7 people liked this

Good info on the style.

I just got back from a few days in DC. It seems like every building in Virginia along the metro (all newer construction) follows that Mies style. One building looks good, many together do not.

That being said, I kinda like the retro 70's look of that building.

posted by JoeyGee on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:38:29 pm     #  

upso posted at 10:10:14 PM on Apr 19, 2017:

I don't give a fuck what it looks like as long as it's fully occupied.

but a large version of this chicago building would be cool. the artist is from the netherlands, but toledo artists could do it.


the before look


come on, now. think big.

posted by jr on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:20:09 pm     #  

upso posted at 10:10:14 PM on Apr 19, 2017:

I don't give a fuck what it looks like as long as it's fully occupied.

C'mon man, you must have picked up some appreciation for Architecture in Chicago. They have the best cityscape in the country (yes better than NYC) and take it super seriously.

posted by Ace_Face on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:28:27 pm     #  

upso posted at 10:10:14 PM on Apr 19, 2017:

I don't give a fuck what it looks like as long as it's fully occupied.

You've changed, Phil.

posted by justread on Apr 20, 2017 at 05:56:41 am     #   3 people liked this

Haha

posted by upso on Apr 20, 2017 at 08:52:41 am     #  

upso posted at 10:10:14 PM on Apr 19, 2017:

I don't give a fuck what it looks like as long as it's fully occupied.

.....I dont give a fuck if its fully occupied, as long as it looks good.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Apr 20, 2017 at 09:14:35 am     #  

:) just to clarify, I've been frustrated that the building has been neglected for so long. It's such a relief to see work finally happening to the place but I am still a little nervous there isn't a solid plan for the lower levels. It's kind of an ugly building but as mentioned by others, just having light and life inside will go a long way. A mural on the side would be incredibly expensive to produce but sure, if they could do it, awesome!

posted by upso on Apr 20, 2017 at 11:51:05 am     #  

If Toledoans couldn't handle Fifth Third putting their logo on top of the Fiberglass Tower, they'll flip their shit over a mural. The horror!!!!

posted by dell_diva on Apr 20, 2017 at 12:21:31 pm     #  

The murals Im thinking of arent hand painted. They are pre-printed and hung or otherwise applied to the surface. Similar to the building that is visible from Comerica Park in Detroit.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Apr 20, 2017 at 12:39:56 pm     #  

The BGSU library has a mural on the side. It was pretty faded when I was there, but it has been since restored. It extends down into the atrium inside the library. Looks a little dated, but I always thought it was interesting.

posted by Ace_Face on Apr 20, 2017 at 12:42:27 pm     #  

Hand painted murals = legalized graffiti

posted by Hoops on Apr 20, 2017 at 01:00:16 pm     #   1 person liked this

But it's professional graffiti, since the artists get paid.

posted by jr on Apr 20, 2017 at 02:18:26 pm     #  

dell_diva posted at 12:21:31 PM on Apr 20, 2017:

If Toledoans couldn't handle Fifth Third putting their logo on top of the Fiberglass Tower, they'll flip their shit over a mural. The horror!!!!

Fifth Third is in One Seagate. I do not recall a time they wanted to put their name on the Fiberglas Tower.

posted by justread on Apr 20, 2017 at 02:53:43 pm     #  

justread posted at 02:53:43 PM on Apr 20, 2017:
dell_diva posted at 12:21:31 PM on Apr 20, 2017:

If Toledoans couldn't handle Fifth Third putting their logo on top of the Fiberglass Tower, they'll flip their shit over a mural. The horror!!!!

Fifth Third is in One Seagate. I do not recall a time they wanted to put their name on the Fiberglas Tower.

That's what I meant... thanks for the correction.

posted by dell_diva on Apr 20, 2017 at 09:26:43 pm     #  

The Summit Street parking garage ruins the building, in my opinion. A well-designed plaza on the Summit Street side would still interrupt the streetscape, but would be an infinite improvement over the garage.

posted by swampprof on Apr 20, 2017 at 10:33:03 pm     #   1 person liked this

swampprof posted at 10:33:03 PM on Apr 20, 2017:

The Summit Street parking garage ruins the building, in my opinion. A well-designed plaza on the Summit Street side would still interrupt the streetscape, but would be an infinite improvement over the garage.

Yes. The building is ugly enough, then you toss in that eyesore of a garage...

The old federal building was about the only thing that was uglier in downtown.

posted by clt212 on Apr 21, 2017 at 09:09:01 am     #  

I could be wrong, but from my understanding they really cannot change the architecture or the windows for at least 5 years since they went after preservation tax credits ( which I don't blame them for).You can't say this architecture needs to be preserved! Take tax credits and then change it's appearance. Building will probably stay pretty much the same but changing the appearance of the parking garage and first floor into retail will make a dramatic difference. I'm with Upso, just fill it with people that have disposable income and I'll be happy.

posted by JustinLorenzen on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:43:48 pm     #  

It will be easier to fill with people if the exterior is dressed up a little. We arent talking about a radical changes in architecture (who did, anyway?) We are talking exterior lighting and adding some color or other eye catching design feature. All relative (vs the interior) low cost stuff.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Apr 21, 2017 at 04:46:44 pm     #  

The tower is Toledo's most significant example of late 1960s modernism. For better or worse, the historic tax credits protect it from alteration.

Still, that garage is unique(ly bad) compared to similar modernist buildings, and I think could do without altering the historic nature of the tower, though preservation/historic experts might disagree.

posted by swampprof on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:40:12 pm     #  

Preservationists impose their emotional arrested development on the community by wistfully looking over their shoulder at a bygone era conceiving of a yesteryear as some glorified past period. Much like pornography I cannot define it but I know it when I see it. Junk is junk. Take a nice photo and hold it close to your heart, tear the decrepit structures down, build anew and move into the future which intimidates you so severely. That may have the sounding of harshness upon warm, fuzzy memories however yesterdays gone.

posted by Mariner on Apr 22, 2017 at 07:15:18 am     #   1 person liked this

Preservationists impose their emotional arrested development on the community by wistfully looking over their shoulder at a bygone era conceiving of a yesteryear as some glorified past period. Much like pornography I cannot define it but I know it when I see it. Junk is junk. Take a nice photo and hold it close to your heart, tear the decrepit structures down, build anew and move into the future which intimidates you so severely. That may have the sounding of harshness upon warm, fuzzy memories however yesterdays gone.
You sound like the people who put aluminum siding on the Nasby building in the 1960s. If you think your building is "junk" don't take the tax credit. I'm glad to see buildings saved for their architectural value - even if I don't like that particular style. Much like art, it's in the eye of the beholder.

posted by Toledostrong on Apr 22, 2017 at 09:31:08 am     #   2 people liked this

Very true. And also explains the popularity of reruns of I Luv Lucy.

posted by Mariner on Apr 22, 2017 at 02:12:06 pm     #  

By extension, just bulldoze the Old West End, that pile of toothpicks.

Modernist architecture, especially the Brutalist subset, seems generally unpopular not seen as 'historic.' That's a narrow perspective on beauty, in my opinion. Buildings of that era are fundamentally different from anything that came before. Many early modern structures have been preserved - think the Bauhaus and PSFS tower in Philadelphia, and I'm glad to see structures like Fiberglas Tower preserved in their original form as much as possible.

posted by swampprof on Apr 22, 2017 at 03:33:27 pm     #   1 person liked this

"... especially the Brutalist subset ..."

I was wondering if the Fiberglass Tower qualified as brutalist design. Probably not.

Wikipedia - Brutalist architecture

October 2016 - NY Times - Brutalism Is Back

Someone has tried to apply brutalism to web design, although that may not make sense.

http://brutalistwebsites.com

Hacker News thread

I don't know that it has to be ugly. I think the good brutalist architecture is quite beautiful, as well as very pleasant to use (it's a misconception that brutalist design is meant to be brutal towards it's users).

When I think of brutalist, I think no frills, and putting the infrastructural elements forward, not covering them up with any surface-level aesthetics. Exposing the infrastructural bones, hiding nothing.

From the Wikipedia page:

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s.

Examples are typically massive in character (even when not large), fortress-like, with a predominance of exposed concrete construction, or in the case of the "brick brutalists," ruggedly combine detailed brickwork and concrete.

Brutalism became popular for educational buildings (especially university buildings), but was relatively rare for corporate projects. Brutalism became favoured for many government projects, high-rise housing, and shopping centres.

posted by jr on Apr 22, 2017 at 07:01:00 pm     #  

Sounds like a Tim(the toolman) flavored approach. Function over form. The author, John D. McDonald wrote a series of pool side reading books with the main character Travis McGee driving a rusted beat up old pick up truck. He put a Rolls-Royce engine in it and kept it mechanically sound. Deceiving appearance but would perform like a champ. Conversely buildings can be flashy and have no soul inside.

posted by Mariner on Apr 23, 2017 at 07:39:01 am     #  

I didn't mean to suggest that FT/TotM was Brutalist; to me it is definitely International. The Carlson Library at UT is a good example.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/98/58/51/985851b31ac72688a58669bb5d57e404.jpg

posted by swampprof on Apr 23, 2017 at 12:18:28 pm     #  

Mulford Library at UTMC is also a good example. The 4th and 5th floors are impressive from an architectural perspective.

posted by idinspired on Apr 24, 2017 at 08:16:44 am     #  

Where will the food trucks park on Thursday now that all the construction vehicles for this job are using St. Clair street?

posted by classylady on Apr 24, 2017 at 11:54:15 am     #