Style over substance: Your feature story "Haute Houses" hit the nail on the head. These structures are impractical for a variety of space and privacy reasons. But in Phoenix's climate, they border on farcical.

The issues with these houses will only surface later when people see their utility bills, when they find out they do not need a barbecue grill to cook outside. All they need are the metal stairs.

What I'm saying is that good construction techniques have been sacrificed in the name of style.
Name withheld by request

The coolness factor: "Haute Houses" attempts to make the point that modern buildings containing a lot of glass and/or exterior metal surfaces are either impossible or extremely expensive to keep cool. Three buildings are offered as proof of this contention: the Sandra Day O'Connor Courthouse, the House of Earth and Light, and Leesa Stuck's home in Paradise Valley.

Having used these examples to set up the argument, the article then proceeds to lump together any and all modern buildings in the Phoenix area that feature glass and/or metal, including The Boardwalk.

The contention is that they run up high utility bills in the summer.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that each building is unique in its massing, materials and site orientation. Intelligent architectural design that considers all these factors results in buildings that are very livable.

For example, take the Loloma 5. We can vouch for Will Bruder's comments with direct, firsthand knowledge. Having lived there since July 2004, we can tell you that our electricity bill in the summer is only about $150 per month — the same as Will's unit.

Loloma 5 was designed and built according to principles of sustainable architecture, under Scottsdale's Green Building Program (see the Loloma 5's project profile under We find the omission of this fact from your article to be quite dishonest, given its overall theme.

Rather than making such sweeping generalizations (including calling into question the motives, intelligence and sophistication of the developers, builders and consumers), the public would have been better served had you taken a more objective approach to your subject.
Adrian and Lisa De Leon, Scottsdale

Louver story: I work in the Burton Barr Central Library you mention, one of Will Bruder's creations. One photo caption refers to its "massive glass walls" and its "electronic cooling system."

Well, the photo you took is out the north window, the only place the sun does not hit, and that one isn't cooled electronically. It's the south-facing window-wall that has electronic louvers that were designed to move in synch with the sun to keep the building maximally shaded with minimal obstruction of view.

It should be noted that the "electronic shading system" on the south wall does not function. Sexy idea, lousy execution. The system was supposed to shift automatically, shading the south-facing windows from the broiling Arizona sun, but it doesn't. It no longer shifts at all; the machinery is unfixable. Apparently, for the brief time the louvers did shift, they were as likely to reflect light into the building as to shade it.

I could go on, but I like my job. Suffice it to say that Robrt L. Pela would be hard-pressed to find employees complimentary to the building. Every one of us has his or her complaints about boneheaded designs affecting our work and productivity.
Name withheld by request

More tile!: I thought a lot about your article, and you're completely right. I think you should lead a movement to tear down these glass-and-metal boxes and, in their place, erect some more planned subdivisions of redundant stucco box-tiled roof bullshit.

Because these stucco homes are so energy-efficient!

Let's tear down all of these silly, colorful, cutting-edge modern projects because they don't blend in properly like the beige stucco monsters and the Tuscan rip-offs. Let's stop the modern movement right away — before people start thinking diversity is acceptable.

I like Robrt Pela. He's funny, like a clown.
Joel Contreras, Tempe

Lambasting Lemons

Criticism is the name of the game: Apparently, reader Greg Brownell's unclear on the function of a restaurant reviewer ("You Don't Know Our Copy Girl," Letters, June 15). He seems to think that it's unheard-of for a food critic to actually go to restaurants and tell readers whether they should bother to dine there or not.

To Brownell, this is the height of audacity to inform the public that a cafe sucks donkey dick. Brownell seems to think that when new places open up, they are off limits to restaurant reviewers. He thinks that it's a rule that the masses must go to these shithole grubeterias for several months before a critic is allowed in.

Quite the contrary, your eminence!

What Mr. Lemons is paid to do is pulverize such places; indeed, if I were his boss, I would fire him if he didn't run such places out of business. It's a public service to give new restaurants no more than a passing chance at serving decent food. Personally, I'm tempted to burn down places that charge an arm and a leg for lousy food and/or service. It's Lemons' duty to spare us.

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