Ablarc?

sidewalks

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I would hope that people wouldn't be scared off the site by rude comments. Things get a bit heated from time to time and there is the occasional bozo who makes moronic or offensive comments, but this is the internet. I wouldn't ring my hands too much at the thought that the New Yorkers might have more civilized discussions. I'd wager they've got a jackass or two in their ranks as well...
 

sidewalks

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His urban design and planning projects are rather impressive in my opinion. Dilworth Crescent is a wonderful new urbanist creation, Toccoa College looks to be an interesting reinterpretation of St. Mark's Square in Venice, and Rock Hill Renaissance and Oxford Square look like an urbanist's utopian vision. But those churches...stick a cross on a warehouse and presto!
 

Scott

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This is just a guess but sometimes churches are plain on purpose, their exteriors reflecting the philosophy of the particular church against graven images.
 

castevens

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Perfect example, La Basilique Notre Dame de Montreal:





Ok so it's not *so* plain outside, but the last thing I expected when walking inside was the most beautiful and intricate church interior I have ever seen
 

Ron Newman

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Congregational churches (and thus Unitarian ones, which split off from them) are often intentionally plain indoors and out. A conscious choice to set themselves apart from the Catholic and Episcopal styles of architecture and worship.
 

Lrfox

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Wow... I admired that church from afar on my last visit to Montreal's "Old Port" area (even have some nice exterior photos), but never went inside... big mistake apparently. That's gorgeous. The interior reminds a little of this photo from Endus (I believe it's called "Afterlife?"):


next time i'm up there I'll have to make it a point to go inside.
 

castevens

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Wow... I admired that church from afar on my last visit to Montreal's "Old Port" area (even have some nice exterior photos), but never went inside... big mistake apparently. That's gorgeous.
Yeah, like Goody, I was in absolute awe. there was also a wooden spiral staircase. I'll see if I can find a picture
 

AblarcInformation

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ABL Architecture & Design of Charlotte, NC evolved from Able Drafting Service, a sideline of founder Thomas A. Incze. The staff of this predecessor was comprised entirely of Mr. Incze's students when he was an Associate Professor of Architecture at UNC Charlotte. Friction between the dean of this school and the volatile Mr. Incze resulted in his resigning his teaching job in the late 1980s.

I was present at the foundation of ABL Architecture & Design in the early 1990s, and even designed its logo. Thomas A. Incze can be compared to a "prophet without honor" (and one without honor even in his own country). His early engagement in what has come to be called New Urbanism was based on his knowledge of history. Dilworth Crescent, Charlotte, NC was largely his brainchild. It was immensely profitable for its developer, James Gross (a former student of Incze). This project was, as noted by contributors to archBOSTON, a decade ahead of its time, but the inspiration for its compact site plan is centuries old. Mr. Incze failed to build a reputation based upon his contribution to this lucrative development.

Thomas Incze was satisfied playing the role of dishonorable prophet. He was always right, and the rest of the world was dead wrong. Compromise was impossible for him, and his contempt for zoning and building codes made my role a designer/draftsman exasperating. He believed that his failure to be recognized as a genius could be blamed on the world's inability to understand him. This was not due to a lack of clarity, however, but mainly due to his intransigence. He was stubborn, proud, and at times insolent and abusive. My personal campaign to humanize him ended in defeat. I have vowed to never speak to him again. I renounce ABL forever, yet I do not regret the tempestuous years I spent with Mr. Incze.

My job at ABL Architecture & Design was to translate Mr. Incze's scholarly, yet embryonic urban design notions into images and drawings. Historic prototypes were resurrected, transported to a present-day site, then promoted to a revolving series of aspiring real estate developers. Every scheme was viable, yet very few were actually developed. The speculative work was underwritten by funds earned through individual building commissions. Speed of execution and extremely low fees ensured that there was a seemingly limitless supply of work. Regrettably, the late recession set in, and this hitherto reliable supply dwindled to almost nothing. Concurrently, Mr. Incze was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

A journey that began with a privileged childhood in Europe, continued through Harvard and Yale, an abbreviated academic career, and, finally, a highly subsidized and ultimately fruitless obsession with urban design has now come to a bittersweet close.

Though I managed to earn a living throughout my association with Mr. Incze, I had no desire to remain as heir apparent to a firm whose income was based solely on low cost and quick turnaround. The costs were set by Mr. Incze, but the productivity rate was my contribution. My two decades at ABL were not wasted, however. I was privileged to sit at the feet of a prophet, albeit a dishonorable one, and to learn from him. His knowledge of art and architecture was encyclopedic. Like Solomon, he believed that there can be nothing new under the sun. I strongly disagree with this depressing philosophy.
 

kz1000ps

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^ There is a lot to unpack here, but let me be the first to say thank you for enlightening us as to the person and circumstances behind the forumer we all knew as ablarc.

Nothing you write surprises me as to what his personal and working traits were like, but I'll just say that he was almost always nothing short of gracious in explaining things to us internet commoners and spared us the abusive/contemptuous side that generally does come with those kind of highly intelligent folk. Sad to learn it was Parkinson's that stole him away from us.
 

Beton Brut

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Saw this late last night. I poured a dram of Longrow and thought about the transitory nature of life, how nothing is promised to us, how despite our best efforts and intentions, things end poorly, how we delude ourselves everyday into thinking that we always get a vote on what happens to us...
 

datadyne007

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This write-up is nothing short of fascinating, but damn, this pretty much applies to any architect (just swap out the name) and perfectly demonstrates what's been wrong with our profession for almost a century.

Architecture is one of (if not) the most ego-driven professions. There's been this pervasive notion in architects that they know how people want to live, work and play better than the people who are actually doing the living, working and playing in the spaces they are designing.
 

Lrfox

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^ There is a lot to unpack here, but let me be the first to say thank you for enlightening us as to the person and circumstances behind the forumer we all knew as ablarc.

Nothing you write surprises me as to what his personal and working traits were like, but I'll just say that he was almost always nothing short of gracious in explaining things to us internet commoners and spared us the abusive/contemptuous side that generally does come with those kind of highly intelligent folk. Sad to learn it was Parkinson's that stole him away from us.
Well said. I once "outed" him on this forum and he sent me a very polite message that, in much further detail than was required, explained his love of the board, the meaning behind is username, and why he wished to remain anonymous. As a neophyte to architecture/urbanism, I admired his posts and really appreciated him going easy on me when he could have chewed me out. I'm sorry to hear it wasn't just that he grew tired of the board.
 

Crispus

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I've been lurking on this forum for over 10 years. When I first found this place, I would eagerly await his long-form expositions on architecture and the built environment. In a very real sense, he and Jane Jacobs were my first professors on this topic (although I never met either one), and they sparked a personal interest in real estate development that has since blossomed into a professional one.

It sounds like he was a complicated and difficult person (aren't we all?), but I really appreciate the update and I'm sad to hear he is no longer alive.
 

datadyne007

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I've been lurking on this forum for over 10 years. When I first found this place, I would eagerly await his long-form expositions on architecture and the built environment. In a very real sense, he and Jane Jacobs were my first professors on this topic (although I never met either one), and they sparked a personal interest in real estate development that has since blossomed into a professional one.

It sounds like he was a complicated and difficult person (aren't we all?), but I really appreciate the update and I'm sad to hear he is no longer alive.
Same here. I really enjoyed Ablarc's posts. His contributions to this board will forever be remembered.
 

kz1000ps

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Thirded. I've been saying to nobody in particular for years now that I "went to the school of ablarc" given the vast amounts of knowledge and straight up wisdom I gleaned from him.
 

commuter guy

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Thank you for taking the time to update us on Ablarc, his contributions to archBoston were exceptional and he will be missed.
 

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