McMansion Hell versus the dubious monster homes of Waukesha County, Wisconsin

They probably cheaped out on the architect because, not being in the stratosphere of having so much money you don’t even check the price tag on mansions, they cheap out on things. But you have to factor in too a complete lack of taste on the part of the client.

True, but not that there aren’t architects willingly available to inflict such monstrosities on this world, mcmansion folks just don’t have enough money to pay them. They’re off putting infinity pools atop towers hundreds of feet in the air.

ETA: yeah I know that pool wasn’t designed by an architect by we all know that only means there’s a bunch of butthurt architects out there mad they didn’t do it first)


In high school, we had a weekly art history class along with the regular art classes. One of our assignments was to draw a building with at least 10 of the architectural details from our art history classes, like flying buttresses, columns, friezes, gargoyles, domes, etc. These houses look like the Frankenbuildings we hapless teens designed.


Something I will never understand is people in the midwest’s obsession with having sweeping treeless lawns in front of houses. Most of the year it’s either so hot that you don’t want to be in the open sun for extended periods of time or too cold and wet/snowy to use the space. On top of that it’s often windy and those lawns just leave the house expose and terrifically expensive to heat and cool. I just don’t get it.


These things always look like a wayward garage accidentally crashed into a house.


These look like the errors you see in Google Street View or the 3D models on Google Maps.


I suspect acid would result in much more interesting and potentially even autsthetically pleasing design. This is just boxes jammed together.


These homes were probably built on former farmland, and trees take a while to grow.


Suburban continental drift? Like India ramming Asia and forming the Himalayas.



I grew up in the midst of new development in Kansas, and I think we can blame a lot of that on developers, too. True, they were former milo and wheat fields (there went my playground), but also much easier for them to bulldoze the whole dang plat before dividing it up into parcels and winding streets. No trees standing in the way of surveyors, supply trucks, or diggers.


Thinking along the same lines, but I was reminded of Lovecraft’s “The Dreams in the Witch House”:

Gilman’s room was of good size but queerly irregular shape; the north wall slanting perceptibly inward from the outer to the inner end, while the low ceiling slanted gently downward in the same direction. Aside from an obvious rat-hole and the signs of other stopped-up ones, there was no access—nor any appearance of a former avenue of access—to the space which must have existed between the slanting wall and the straight outer wall on the house’s north side, though a view from the exterior shewed where a window had been boarded up at a very remote date. The loft above the ceiling—which must have had a slanting floor—was likewise inaccessible. When Gilman climbed up a ladder to the cobwebbed level loft above the rest of the attic he found vestiges of a bygone aperture tightly and heavily covered with ancient planking and secured by the stout wooden pegs common in colonial carpentry. No amount of persuasion, however, could induce the stolid landlord to let him investigate either of these two closed spaces.
As time wore along, his absorption in the irregular wall and ceiling of his room increased; for he began to read into the odd angles a mathematical significance which seemed to offer vague clues regarding their purpose. Old Keziah, he reflected, might have had excellent reasons for living in a room with peculiar angles; for was it not through certain angles that she claimed to have gone outside the boundaries of the world of space we know? His interest gradually veered away from the unplumbed voids beyond the slanting surfaces, since it now appeared that the purpose of those surfaces concerned the side he was already on.


Perhaps it’s not intended to be a “C,” but a horseshoe—the homeowners and architect wishing to convey some fever-dream of “ranch,” but having only ever seen horses that were coin-operated, and made of plastic.

1 Like

I’m sure that modern, parametric Building information modeling software was used. Things like roof would be automatically generated from the floor plan. Even the floor plan was probably cut and pasted form several previous projects, creating this monstrosity.




Landscaping is also usually the last thing any developer thinks of.

By which I mean, they don’t really think of it at all.

“Just put it down to turf. The buyer will anyway rip it all out and do their thing”.

Except the buyer usually doesn’t, because they’re conditioned by what they see around them to think that a big expanse of lawn is a status symbol.

Which it is of course. After all nothing says money like “I can afford to ignore the local climate and also afford the expense of maintaining this completely useless space”.


It’s a copyleft symbol


This is a mountain train station, and while looks similar in aspect on a McMansion it’s quite pretty and functional. Being a trains station has some not-so- aesthetic thing like overhead wires and poles everywhere.
They liket the sloped roof, bat was used sensibly and has some usefulness when is snowing.

Unfortunately if you leave the design to the builders and not to an architect you’ll get these results.


I’m having fund reading those annotations.

May I invite everyone to come up with some witty remarks pasted in those pics?

Also, try this one:

And this:

1 Like

Your point is…?

Assuming your point is some kind of commentary about how those houses are considered architectural gems vs. the snark directed at the houses featured on McMansion, perhaps a wider perusal of Kate’s work might help clarify things?

I honestly don’t know why the OPs don’t simply link to the relevant sections because this comes up every time they mention McMansion Hell.

For example:

TLDR - Kate’s position is there is nothing wrong with any of the individual elements of these homes - apart from the simply bad construction elements which just end up costing the owner more money in repairs and replacement.

Architecturally, she decries the unthought-out agglomeration of features from radically different architectural styles in ways that ignore well-established principles of design.

Ultimately, she just wants more work opportunities for architects.


I’m surprised that #3 is on the list. It’s not to my taste either, but it shows a consistency of style that is usually lacking in McMansions., and is one of her main complaints about them.

1 Like