Worst of McMansions: architectural criticism of inequality's most tangible evidence

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/14/worst-of-mcmansions-architect.html


I wonder if my little bungalow would be graded any better? I suspect this fellow approves of very very few buildings.


Of course mansions are just suburban houses on steroids - it follows the general trend. The average size of the standard US house keeps increasing - developers realized that by making a house slightly larger than usual, they could increase the price disproportionately. That caused the “usual” size to increase, which lead to further increases over time. “Mansions” just become oversized suburban houses, built by the same people building suburbs, only with more, bigger rooms.


“Toilet paper hung in improper overhand manner.”

I wonder how neighbors would feel if some wealthy patron started buying up these “7 bath, 2 half bath” hodgepodges and turning them into affordable housing for the poor, or artist communes for recent grads.

I’ve been fascinated by this particular tiny home from Estonia, though the price ($100k USD, apparently) is kind of ridiculous for what you are actually getting.



You are missing the point with this myopic dissection of aesthetic rules that only apply to ugly boring cliché architecture made of boxes and triangles, that is unsustainable and needs to be replaced with earthships, cob houses, earth berm, natural, sculptural, sustainable, a thousand times stronger, global warming proof utopian architecture everyone drools over online but is unavailable in this corporate megacidal dystopia where life is to be wasted.


Welcome to Boing Boing.


pricey but that would be awesome for a single person and still cheaper than a one bedroom condo in a lot of places.


The “ahoy mateys!” in the top picture made me giggle.


I came for architectural criticism, but all this appears to be is an extended whine of “I don’t like this decor.” Architecture is not interior design, and the best architecture in the world could not fix a home inhabited by people with bad taste.


Yes, there is absolutely no way that the hard working simple folk in the market for this 2M+ home could be expected to have any time for elitist affections like taste in architecture.


That depends. Is it a real Arts & Crafts bungalow (typically under 2000 square feet) or is one of those ones where a huge house is made to look like a bungalow?


I’ve always despised these monstrosities. It seems the architects believe that whoever can jam the highest number of mismatched roof lines together, wins.


The exteriors are discussed as well?


There was a short lived NIMBY bit of that here in Seattle. The new all boxy flat top smooth side looking modern houses were being called ‘Monster Houses’ though nobody thought anything the equally big but standard looking existing houses. The modern ones are big cause they are good at utilizing the space and I think look pretty cool. Of course either design is way past what I can or most people can afford.


If people really have “bad taste” and want to deliberately live in a boat-like house or whatever, then so be it. I agree in that case it is just snobbery to criticize. But I don’t think that’s how most ugly houses are built. Instead a developer builds a lot of houses that are cheap for their size and people buy them just because they think they are a “good deal” no matter how ugly they are. Then people who care about architecture have a right to criticize because the implication is that architecture doesn’t matter.


An anononymous commenter wrote

i think like the main failing of mcmansions is that they aren’t thought of architecturally. the mcmansion is designed as a feature wrapper. “vaulted ceilings, open concept, master suite, spacious windows”. the a facade is thrown up around that.

and his response was

This is 100% true. McMansions are definitely designed from the inside out.

So amy substantive criticism needs to consider interior design-- and build on that.

One must also remember that mcmansionhell sources his material from Real Estate listings, which of course, feature the “vaulted ceilings” and “open concept”, and “spacious windows”, and only devote one or two photos to the facade.


Shouldn’t there be a regulation safety ladder for exiting the swimming pool in that bathroom?

Also, I hate when fake ivy around the bannister passes for decor.


A 2,000 sq ft house is a huge house.

I am living in a 4 bed, 3.5 bath cape cod which is smaller than that.


Got a link to those “monster houses”?

I’d like to see one.

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You can appreciate McDonald’s food on many levels, but I don’t get the kneejerk/contrarian defense of nouveau-riche craphouses.

Do you actually appreciate them on any level, or is this just an exercise in devil’s advocacy?

If the latter, at least try to provide some interesting reasoning that’s not just “architects are snooty and have you SEEN where they live?”

I am constantly impressed by the passion projects of my friends and architects I don’t know worldwide, so that’s less persuasive to me.