McMansion or not?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Kent Wang, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Senior member

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    It has nothing to do with jealousy. I'm not jealous because I don't own a McMansion. I'd much rather live in a 500sq. ft. stone barn than a 4000 sq. foot Lowe's advertisement. The thing that people don't acknowledge is that the size of their home and the formal elements it possesses have absolutely nothing to do with the ability of the home to meet it's intended purpose, which is to live in. Those two aspects are used irrationally to express a connotation of wealth or lifestyle which we associate with pre-20th century mansion styling.

    Does vinyl siding made with a fake wood texture improve your life? No. All it does it mimic the materials of colonial houses in order to give the impression that the owner has a slice of authentic America.

    Does an ornate plastic porch light that was copied from an old Boston street lantern design improve your life or provide an honest expression of its purpose? No, unless you actually use whale blubber to burn it. All it's doing is mimicking the lifestyle it cannot authentically recreate. There is such an absurdly contrived falseness in the motivation for McMansion ownership, that it's amazing that people don't even fathom how purposeless it is.

    Homes and architecture are not supposed to be limited to a utilitarian existence, so they can have ornamental elements, but if those elements aren't intended to actually provide a function of pleasure (as opposed to to a function of deception or representation), there is no purpose.

    Take a flower arrangement at a dinner table. If it's a real flower arrangement made of real flowers, that can provide a function of delight that we take from natural things and validate its ornamental existence. Obviously that would be expensive if it was done every day, so it therefore takes on some level of desirability within the the world of McMansions. But if it's made of fake flowers that you bought at Michaels, does it still provide delight? No. Of course not. It just sits there and tries to convince the people eating dinner that their servants may actually have picked them from the garden. But there's nothing delightful about plastic tulips that were shipped in a crate from a Chinese village. The plastic flowers don't fool people into believing someone's life is either in touch with nature's splendors or authentically exceptional. It's just tacky.

    The McMansion can't say it's an honest representation of its occupiers' existence because the entire purpose of a McMansion is to deceive them into believing their home represents a lifestyle that they don't actually have. Anything meant to mimic something else that predates it in purpose or style is only valuable if it's a completely authentic version. If you want a Georgian colonial, it should be made of 100% Georgian colonial materials, not artificial materials that were invented in 1996.


    Amen brother, I live in an affluent suburb of Toronto where all old houses on big lots were getting torn down and replaced with McMansions. One builder in particular likes putting them up in record time and selling them to a hospital lottery (because no one with real money would buy them) as a prize.

    What shocked me more was when a film shoot (starring Daniel Craig and Naomi Watts) set up at the park at the end of my street a year ago, the set house was built better than the McMansions and looked nicer than anything currently going up in my neighbourhood.
     
  2. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Very Nice: [​IMG]

    Okay: [​IMG]

    Interesting: [​IMG]

    Okay: [​IMG]

    Very Nice: [​IMG]


    Okay: [​IMG]

    I Like: [​IMG]

    Okay: [​IMG]

    Okay: [​IMG]

    Odd but Okay: [​IMG]


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    Yuck: [​IMG]
    Yuck: [​IMG]

    Yuck: [​IMG]

    Yuck: [​IMG]

    Yuck: [​IMG]

    Yuck: [​IMG]

    Yuck: [​IMG]

    Yuck: [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  3. mordecai

    mordecai Immoderator

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    Odd but Okay: [​IMG]
    odd? it looks like a vermeer.
     
  4. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    ^^^It is Vermeer like ... but it's not my style. I don't do hammocks indoors.
     
  5. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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  6. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    There are McMansion Santa Fes too, but IMO, the style itself is quite pleasing and blends in well with the geography. This must surely count towards this authentic aesthetic?

    in general yes. those specific ones, no.

    FWIW there is this one pueblo style house near me that actually looks really nice and somehow works with the neighborhood.

    [​IMG]

    I can't believe people chose Levitt over Wright.


    I kind of like that.... [​IMG]
     
  7. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    This "yuck" looks nice and inviting to me: [​IMG] What's cool to look at and where one would be comfortable living aren't necessarily the same thing. Also, I'm not sure everyone here grasps that reasonable people can have different architectural and stylistic tastes. But, then again, this is Styleforum, where everyone's way is the only way.
     
  8. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    SH, FWIW, those pics you posted with "nano walls" are similar to the house plans I have had made by my architect. If this shitty RE market ever works out, I'm building something like that.
     
  9. ad_infinitum

    ad_infinitum Senior member

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    They would be anomalies, at least biologically. It would likely be in their taste for the purpose of making some type of statement.

    We know for certain that processed materials within a built environment like carpet and plastic have a strong effect on levels of depression. We know that people get agitated by fluorescent light compared to incandescent light. We know that a lack of natural airflow in and out of buildings affects the immune system and circadian rhythm of people.

    When people are surrounded by natural materials, we know their blood pressure drops, they become happier, and their brain activity is increased. It's because those materials increase the amount of energy they spend acclimating themselves to the nuances of natural environments. They are much more aware. There is a huge therapeutic value to natural surroundings the same way there are to natural foods.

    I guess it could be in someone's taste to eat a gummi bear diet, but it's not in their best interest. Unlike diets though, your choice of house to build is eventually passed on to someone else.



    I do not know architecture, but I like what you have to say about it. I do know a bit about brains and epidemiology though. Everything bolded is most likely nonsense or contributes very little, certainly not well established fact at this point in time (you can, and I would like you to reference all the pubmed "˜studies' and what not).

    rant out


    Some lovely homes here.
     
  10. Dakota rube

    Dakota rube Senior member

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    I can't believe people chose Levitt over Wright.

    Are you suggesting people "chose" Levitt to the exclusion of FLWright? Or am I misunderstanding your post?

    Good guide RSS.

    Yes. I am in complete agreement with his rating.
     
  11. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    I do not know architecture, but I like what you have to say about it. I do know a bit about brains and epidemiology though. Everything bolded is most likely nonsense or contributes very little, certainly not well established fact at this point in time (you can, and I would like you to reference all the pubmed ‘studies’ and what not).
    Lol. You doubt the link between nature, mental wellness and health? If you're saying that the built environment a person surrounds themselves in has nothing to do with their health and happiness and the quantitative measures of each, people wouldn't need to make an effort to improve their living or work conditions beyond the purpose of attaining some level of desired function. Can you understand how stupid that is? Look at these two work spaces, where two different people might have spend 50 hours a week for their entire working life, and tell me there is no distinction between the level of anxiety, depression, fatigue, or displeasure they would elicit. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] There are any number of books on the subject that can tell you what you already know, the best of which are Juhani Palasmaa's The Eyes of the Skin, Esther Sternberg's Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well Being, Steen Rasmussen's Experiencing Architecture, Cynthia S. Mccullough Evidence Based Design, Rudolf Steiner's 12 senses lectures, Maurice Merlau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception,David Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses, Robert Murgerauer's Dwelling, Place & Environment, Wilber Gesler's Healing Places, and Winifred Gallagher's House Thinking.
     
  12. Hannerhan

    Hannerhan Senior member

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    I would feel claustrophobic in that underground office. I get your point, but that doesn't seem like the best example.
     
  13. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    FWIW, you guys should investigate a lot of the common Mid-Century modern that's out there today, Alot of it is veneered and pretending as much as the McMansions.

    I'm very specific when checking into something and I'm often surprised. If it's not made of solid materials I avoid it. I really have no issues with veneers but I do have issue with veneer over anything other than hardwood.

    I'm against anything that is pretending whether its a piece in Louis XVI, La Boheme or Modern. Dont get me wrong, I love Mid-Century modern, but I have no issues with other styles.
     
  14. Reborn

    Reborn Senior member

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    Are you suggesting people "chose" Levitt to the exclusion of FLWright? Or am I misunderstanding your post?

    Yes, I do feel that way. The costs of a Levitt home were comparable with a FLW usonia home(much like the one I posted above).

    After WWII there was a tremendous opportunity to shape a rapidly expanding America. The Levitt style of home building and aesthetic, was the style that won approval from policy makers and lenders.

    There is obviously a tremendous back story to all of this, and I am giving a simplified and admittedly biased assessment of it all. But I do think that the ideas of Levitt have proliferated while those of people like FLW and Mumford were pushed aside.
     
  15. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    Very Nice: [​IMG]


    I love Nano Walls and if we build will have one or two. If we buy, hope the place has or if not, a likely spot to install one.
     

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