Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Adventures in McMansion Land

Enjoying the weather Sunday afternoon, my parents and I decided to check out our favorite place for ridicule, Ladue just south of Clayton Road. We were not disappointed; we saw our favorite McMansion in the whole wide world off of Warson Road, which you can see above.Here are a couple of other beauties that replaced the original houses in this area.
Finally, we took a spin over to Huntleigh, where we filmed some exclusive video:
video
video

5 comments:

  1. So I'm kinda confused Chris. What exactly is it that you don't like about these homes? That they've torn down older homes in order to build them? That they're huge? That they're trying to emulate older styles of architecture? I'd give my left nut to live in any of those houses.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jeff,

    The answer is complex, but I will try to summarize my views.

    To put it bluntly, these houses are poseurs, pretending to be something they are not. The architects who design these houses act like they found an old art history survey book that has been soaked by the rain, and copy select portions of older, historical styles. But they just don't get these styles, resulting in ridiculous, bland, and ultimately--and most importantly--low quality homes that also will become scrapers in 20-30 years. While the houses they are based off of will survival for centuries, these giant McMansions are all style and no substance. They are built in the same manner as any house in the suburbs, with 2x4's and concrete, and then receive a slathering of expensive materials meant to impress the viewer from the street.

    Ultimately, I think most people who buy these houses are trying to prove something, that they've made it and are members of the upper class in America. It's conspicuous consumption at its worst.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm still failing to see why any of that is so bad. I'd be willing to guess that 80% or more of new home construction is built with the same basic materials as these homes are. To build a home these days entirely out of brick, stone, heavy timbers, steel, and plaster would cost a fortune. It was the only way to do it back in the day so the materials were being mass produced in much higher supply. Now you pay through the nose for them. I can't fault people for wanting to make the home look really nice even though they used standard materials for the construction. Besides, well maintained 2'x 4' and concrete construction can last a long time provided it's well protected from moisture. These houses will surely outlast the people that had them built.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And by the way "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", even if it is a knockoff. Led Zeppelin based a ton of their early music off of old southern blues music. But Zeppelin wasn't really primarily blues band. I doubt anyone calls them poseurs though.

    And I'm also not 100% convinced that you could even call this conspicuous consumption (at least not in most cases). Some people just like large houses with lots of amenities and a big yard with the peace, quiet, and security that comes with living in the suburbs. You can't really get that in the city (where most homes of the older, better quality construction are built) without paying a few million bones for the house.

    ReplyDelete

A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.