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by Bill Kimberlin
October 9, 2007

      Vernacular architecture refers to the type of buildings that are indigenous to a given place. It is a term used to categorize methods of construction which use locally available resources. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural and historical context in which it exists.

     Let me suggest that the new building, pictured above, has not taken its design cues from any indigenous building, either in Boonville or Anderson Valley, and is an example of what will happen to the town of Boonville if some sort of design review process is not established here.

     To build a building with a triple barrel vaulted roof, in a town that has historically been comprised of mostly gable roofs, is to my mind, outrageous. What's more, it is built opposite the Boonville Hotel, which should be a model for construction of any new significant structure.

     In contrast to this new art gallery building, the building housing the General Store and the Zina Hyde Cunningham tasting room, which sits next to the gallery, certainly takes inspiration from the Hotel and other signature buildings in town, such as the Missouri House and The Farrer Building.

     Apparently, the County of Mendocino has no design regulations and neither does Boonville. This is not because Boonville is an unincorporated town, it is because no one has ever bothered to institute any. There is a simple available process to make this happen. It involves the county planning commission and the board of supervisors. Several coastal towns in Mendocino County have created their own design regulations. I think we should do the same.

     It has been reported that the owner of this new art gallery has commented, "It looks like a bowling alley." Well it certainly does. How inappropriate.


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