Fox Block: Fullerton Rejects Fake Old McSpanish Architecture


The room filled with cheers and applause at last night’s Fox Block community meeting when a citizen stood up and pronounced that the Redevelopment Agency should avoid creating more buildings that are meant to look like fake old clones of existing historic buildings.

The developer who was giving the presentation wanted to make sure that he was hearing this right… he asked for a show of hands – who wants Spanish/Mediterranean-style architecture that mimics the current Fox Theater? Two people out of 50+ raised their hands. Judging by the earlier applause, the vast majority of citizens were in support of creating long-lasting buildings in a contemporary style that would one day become historically significant themselves. The developer even went on to openly mock existing redevelopment buildings in Fullerton, at which point Redevelopment Director Rob Zur Schmiede stood up and absolved himself of responsibility, saying that the fake old buildings were created before his tenure.

Where did this sudden hatred of fake old design come from? We can only surmise that the audience was filled with citizens who have been reading this very blog, which has been loudly criticizing these projects for several months.

There are still many serious problems with this development project (we’ll get to that later), but it’s good to see that FFFF is having a positive impact on the future of architecture in downtown Fullerton.

Yeah, but what about that McDonalds?

Yeah, but what about that McDonalds?

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  1. #1 by thedivinemissk on July 2, 2009

    I think the hatred of fake old has been simmering for a very long time. One look at most of the developments built in throughout Orange County the past twenty years (Coto De Caza? Newport Coast?) –as well as the “lifestyle” that goes with it is part of this boil over. Those who have been here for a long time remember the days of open spaces and of being able to build the home of your choice. We remember scrub, yards that weren’t perfect, homes of different colors. Cookie cutter anything, while sadly accepted, grates against the very essence of being a westerner.

    I love the old Spanish/Mediterranean architecture. But “fake old” is an aberration. You simply can’t replicate the scale used then, and that’s often the first thing to go. So you end up with a mass of houses like the ones on Bastanchury, at the end of Skyline, or buildings like the ones going up at Fullerton college. While some might argue that they’re aesthetically easier to take in, the net effect of McSpanish is that it settles us into a state of sleep walking, and it takes away from the real thing.

    I think there’s room in this city for a viewpoint that recognizes the value in modern architecture, the willingness to look forward. We’ve done it before. The swim club on Victoria, Hunt foods and library, even the complex that was recently torn down on Chapman. I’d rather see progressive architecture than yet another McSpanish McMonster with fake columns, an entry way three stories high with cheap vinyl windows and green grass mow strips.

    So good, we’re making progress. Hats off to this blog. Creating movements, forging understanding isn’t an easy thing, nor does it necessarily gain you friends. But I think it’s been needed. May the cabal of homogeneity crumble.

  2. #2 by Travis Kiger on July 2, 2009

    Very well said, Miss K. As we move forward, I think McSpanish buildings will end up symbolizing the wastefulness and absurdity of the great housing bubble, and nothing more.

  3. #3 by SHOVELGUY on July 2, 2009

    IF THAT’S THE CASE THEY BETTER DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT NEW MCDONALDS BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO LOOK PRETTY STUPID NEXT TO A CONTEMPORARY MONSTER!!!!

  4. #4 by just a guy on July 2, 2009

    Yes, back to the drawing board for that ugly mcdonalds.

  5. #5 by van get it da artiste on July 2, 2009

    FFFF thank you for your efforts. If not for your blog, fake old mcspanish would dominate our town. with FFFF exposure of fullerton’s fools, our town may be allowed to establish its own architectural identity

  6. #6 by Yessum on July 2, 2009

    Right ON !!! Right On FFFF !!!!!!!!! Fake old Sucks and doesn’t last either ! Just look at the South East corner of Harbor and Commonwealth where the Domino’s pizza is located…. Cracks and stains galore and looks laim — and a fake second story to top it all off !

    Check it out !

  7. #7 by thedivinemissk on July 2, 2009

    Old juxtaposed against new is common in cities. Why we should see homogeneity as a desirable stamp is beyond me. In fashion parlance we’d say, “It’s a bit matchy matchy.” The MacDonalds can stay where it is and a really good architect will figure out how to make it all work.

    It’s just a shame they already knocked down all those houses.
    But this gives me no end of pleasure. I remember being in a meeting run by the city in conjunction with Fullerton Heritage and hearing that they had “decided” that the McSpanish architecture would be the prevalent look in the downtown area. When really, it’s silly. I suspect if you go back there was always a mix. What has really wrecked downtown is all that fake brick, the choice of colors, and those huge blocky edifices devoid of character.

  8. #8 by College Park Kid on July 2, 2009

    City Hall-imposed architecture is horrible–typical example is the worst looking bldg. dowtown–SE Comonwealth/Harbor. So fake old it has a fake second story.

    Let’s open things up with steel and lotsa glass.
    That new Spanish restaurant downtown is cool.

  9. #9 by martin b on July 3, 2009

    The McDonalds issue is back to the council on Tuesday for final approval. I think someone needs to raise the McSpanish issue in light of this new development.

  10. #10 by van get it da artiste on July 3, 2009

    read today’s OC Register article that shows city of fullerton’s revenue dropped an unanticapated $500,000 this revenue year. Using my crystal ball and our recent unemployment stats, stock market steady dropping and businesses going broke, I bet city o fullerton will have even less revenue for the coming two three years. Maybe fullerton’s redevelopment should stick their plans for old mcfake spanish where no one will find it.

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