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by Sean Portnoy last modified Apr 14, 2005 05:02 PM
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Posted by Sean Portnoy at February 16. 2005

Re: McLofts

Posted by Peter Lemmon at February 16. 2005


Re: McLofts

Posted by Jesse Leary at February 17. 2005

Does anyone think this might represent a horribly misguided step in the right direction? I can't imagine (maybe I just don't want to imagine) that what draws people to these houses is the facade of an old warehouse. Rather, I think it's the interiors - lots of light, clean lines, high ceilings, etc. What I can see of the dining area in the NAHB New American Home looks a lot nicer than what I see in other Mc-housing-styles. Is there hope that large-scale residential builders will recognize that that is what gets people excited about these houses, and respond to that? No one thinks anyone actually wants to live in a cannery, do they? But they must, they built it! And then it sold! So they'll build more!!! Arrggghhhhh!!!!

Re: McLofts

Posted by Ed at February 17. 2005

I feel terribly conflicted about this. I think the particular show house in question is pretty ugly, but then again, I find even a lot of the modern houses lauded on these forums pretty ugly as well. But I have to admire its boldness, even if its cues are derivative and contextually inappropriate. I do not particularly like large houses on small suburban lots, but then again, I do support cluster zoning if it's balanced with the preservation of dedicated open space. And on its face, the basic design elements inherent in these so-called McLofts are very similar to the very things that draw us to modern design- concrete, floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, open living spaces, loft areas, etc. So why do I despise this as much as I admire it? Critics of these McLoft developments are quick to add that these design elements are out of place in a suburban context; so, then, what IS appropriate for suburbs other than McMansions? And doesn't that run counter to our desire to see more single family housing with modern design elements in a suburban (affordable) context? Are they saying that modern architecture is only appropriate for city apartments, real factories and large country estates, but not suburban lots?

I think that as much as I would like to see modern residential becoming more popular, I also fear that its very popularity could be its doom, especially when it becomes the fodder of tract residential developments like this. It is almost a satire of modernism, yet, it somehow delivers modern to the masses, which is a good thing (I think). :zz:

Re: McLofts

Posted by Adam Burke at February 17. 2005

Wow, those are funny! Why would you want to live in a fake building? It looks like a Hollywood set. The interior space is OK I guess.

The previous poster asks what is appropriate in the suburban setting? I think the primary function of a suburban home is to provide a more quiet, inviting and 'homey' residence than what is offered in urban living. It's an escape from the rush and sometimes overwhelming pace of the city. These fake warehouses don't look inviting at all to me. Now give me an Eichler or a F. L. Wright, and THAT looks like home. I think these work well in a suburban setting. I don't think any house looks good in tree-less developments, crammed on top of each other, as many of the current tracts are. (Why would you want to build your 4000 sq ft dream house 10 feet from your neighbor's 4000 sq ft dream house?) Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it's good that this represents more choice for the consumer, and it MAY be indicative of a new, better direction for housing, but it's still very awkward aesthetically in a suburban setting. It's like putting a Tuscan villa right next to your neighbor's English manor.

Re: McLofts

Posted by David Mori at February 17. 2005

I don't have a problem, per se, with these suburban lofts, although the ones in the MSN article were not particularly attractive.

In fact, I loved the simpleness of the single-family loft-like structure (designed by an architect and built on a modest plot of land) that was built in an Atlanta suburb and was depicted on the cover of and inside the September 2003 (Modern Across America) issue of Dwell Magazine. And I don't have a problem with the multi-unit loft dwellings (newly constructed faux buildings or from converted industrial buildings) that are popping up all over the suburbs, as I believe that efficient land use through denser living is a good thing.

But loft-like single-family homes (or any structure) in a gated development, or built on McMansion-esque size lots?! Seems contradictory to me - wanting to have an urban feel in an environment (a gated community - designed to keep people out) that pretty much promotes the type of homogeneity one would not find if one were to actually reside in a city.

This was an intersting article - I'm going to go ahead and copy it and post it on the designaddict board as well.


Posted by Walter Crigler at February 17. 2005



Posted by Walter Crigler at February 17. 2005

Isnt the goal of good architecture to design for living? I hear so much about honesty of materials, isnt this dishonesty to design, not modern, in fact antique storefront or factory facades to an SFR?

The conversion of these spaces in urban areas was to take advantage of the open space/canvas they provided and the exterior was an existing necessity. Its like drinking champagne out of a coffee cup, not because thats the only glass you have, but because coffehouses are cool.

I love lofts - I love loft design in an SFR - Modern/Rustic/Whatever -
The Austin Loft in Dwell that someone mentioned inspired me. Anderson-Anderson's curved roof loft is my fav.

But this seems wrong! Very Disney-like. Like sticking a castle in the middle of Florida.
Just MHO.

Re: McLofts

Posted by Jed Ballew at February 18. 2005

I think what we are looking at is Postmodernism in a very pure form. Now the masses that buy postmodernist goodies at Target have a house in which to display them. I can't help but feel sorry for a person who chooses to live in a folly but doesn't recognize the humor.

Re: McLofts

Posted by Patrick Shearer at April 14. 2005

I think it is interesting...

To play the devil's advocate:

The great elusive hope of many of us has been getting the big home-builders to use "good" design instead of faux-Tudor or whatever else.

If only we converted the homebuilders, the reasoning goes, we could bring modernism to the masses (since not everyone can afford a "custom" modern home, after all).

The idea that we could actually convert the traditional builders seemed so far fetched that we instead have focused on alternative building. Prefab anyone?

Now that a few builders are actually starting to do it, we're not so sure that that was such a good idea. Was modernism better when it was our own little club?

I don't know. Suburban lots are the most plentiful and economical source of living in most cities. I guess if a house on a suburban lot has a flat or assymetrical roof line instead of a pitched gabled roof and little victorian frills, that can be a good thing.

I don't think that warehouse districts should have the monopoly on brick construction with high ceilings, but I'm going to have to draw the line at having "cannery" written on the door.

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