The city’s largest development, that has been in the works for several years now, is a mega mall that will pretty much swallow up the city in suburban Disneyesque schlock. There is a huge model of the schlock at the garishly re-decorated Carousel Mall. When Carousel was built, I often referred to it as the scary mall: it is a terrible piece of hulking, bland architecture awkwardly placed at the edge of Onondaga Lake near the mouth of the old barge canal.
The "additions" to Carousel don't seem to be much better. They continue their awkward relationship to the surrounding area with oddly-scaled "traditional-looking" protuberances. The funnier part of this development is that it intends on being the "greenest building" in the US. I don't think they just mean the color either. Now that is funny. Covering a waterfront area with enclosed mall and a sea of parking as a monument to consumerism in lieu of a traditional neighborhood development and urban parkland sounds SOOO green to me.
Anyway, I haven’t been home for a sustained period in over a year so I was shocked when, in my drive around town, I came across not one but several nice buildings. Actually, given the degree of difficulty that seems to exist to getting something nice built in Central New York, I am inclined to say these are great buildings.
The third building I noticed on the hill is a building called "Link 2" and was designed by Toshiko Mori. I don't know much about it except that it is way cool looking and seems to settle nicely in the field of historic structures adjacent to the quad.
The final building I checked out is yet another Toshiko Mori design for the Center for Excellence. It is in the middle of construction but you can already tell it is going to be an awesome addition to the city. It is unfortunate that they couldn't salvage the old Smith Typewriter factory that used to be on the site and re-use that for something. I always think that if you need to tear something down, you better put something great in its place. In this instance, they did just that.
I am not quite sure what inspired Syracusans to begin building such nice buildings. My guess is that they nothing did and that these structures are not "home-grown". None of these seem to be designed by local architects and given their relation to the University, I highly doubt a local person was involved in shaping the architecture. Maybe, hopefully, I am wrong in this assumption and that someone in this town is starting to wake up.