I'm an architect in Maryland. On the edge of my town an old reservoir and pumping station. As I was walking by the old pumping station, likely built around the turn of the century (20th, not 21st) I couldn't help but notice the quality of the old pumping station that has all but been abandoned except for storage of some odd landscaping equipment. It's a large brick building with brick arch headers, limestone window sills, slate shingle roofing with copper snow guards and half round gutters, a copper cupola and some nice brick details. I can just imagine what that building would look like if it were built today. My wife asked why we don't build like that today and I said it would be cost prohibitive and we have a whole range of materials we can use today. But the truth is none of the materials we would use today would last as long and it certainly would not look as nice. So my question is, why don't we build high quality building like we used to? Any correlation to the value of land to improvement ratio? Since 100 hundred years ago our cities had much less infrastructure to maintain were they comparatively more wealthy and able to afford quality building?