Category Archives: Residential

Architectural lessons from Arrested Development

This is not the first time I’ve blogged about architecture as it relates to a TV show. Remember my post aboutĀ The Office?

The Bluth family's model home. Photo courtesy

But this time I’m not going to write about social commentary in a show — instead, I’m going to address the architecture of a set.

The show is Arrested Development. If you like The Office and other shows in the same vein, you probably know it. If you don’t, watch all of it right now. (Don’t worry, there are only three seasons.)

Much of Arrested Development centers around a family living in a model house — the Bluth family’s company sells homes, and when the business starts to fall apart, almost the entire family moves into the model for a new development. The home is frequently seen as it is above: a lone McMansion sitting in the middle of what appears to be something of a desert.

A running joke in the show is the home’s shoddiness: everything in it seems to break constantly, a testament to the company’s poor work and, perhaps, to the state of most American residential architecture. It’s poorly thought-out, badly built and very, very ugly.

But it’s still the Bluth’s. It’s still a home. And it seems to say that in a way, despite all the bad features of today’s American architecture — and today’s American life — we’re maybe still not all that far from what it really means for something to be a home.

But we are somewhat far off, and we really ought to try to get back on track.


The Lens: Fallingwater

An unusual view of one of the greatest buildings in American history -- Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. This image was taken from behind the main house looking up towards the guest house.


Tagged ,

Building a modern house

There’s a new modern house going up about five minutes from where I live, a rarity for a New England town. So many of the houses that are built now are faux-colonial or just generally faux-traditional that it’s a pretty big deal when this sort of thing happens. People tend to get excited and to heap praise onto the new house without holding it to any sort of serious standard.

This is not the house that I toured, but it looks pretty similar in the way that it begins to edge on tasteful staleness.

Read on past the break for more on these sorts of houses.

Continue reading