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Two projects speak volumes

The projects you reported for Union Street in Nevada City (Feb. 6), and Bank Street in Grass Valley (Feb. 7) speak volumes about the challenges of wisely guiding the growth of Nevada County’s communities.

The Union Street proposal displays a design that tries to marry itself into an existing urban context in a way that sensitively relates its scale, massing, and facades to its surroundings so as to nurture the distinctive historical visual appeal that Nevada City has tried to preserve.

The Bank Street project smacks of a cookie-cutter blueprint imposed by a corporation minimizing any re-design costs potentially incurred to accommodate the building to its proposed site, frankly ignoring the architectural context and history of the community on which it is dumped. Rather than add interest and appeal to downtown Grass Valley, it will degrade the visual qualities that distinguish the town.



The way we build reveals a community’s identity and its values. Designs become the visual fabric reflecting lives lived. Buildings remain long after their builders pocket their profits and depart, continuing to influence what is built afterwards. While fulfilling important commercial and housing needs, it is worth remembering that how we build may be as important as what we build.

Howie Muir




Nevada City


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