ruminations about architecture and design

Monday, July 14, 2014

american mundane

This is a suburb. Although I've been critical of how suburbs are defined, it's hard to deny the obvious when it clubs you over the head. This place is thoroughly real and a vital part of the American landscape. The people who live here are able to find satisfaction on their own terms, no matter what they happen to teach at the design schools. The architecture of the houses is unimpressive. Construction quality of the finishes was personally discouraging, but over time, some homeowners will probably seek aesthetic improvements that will help create a sense of character.

What's most notable about this community is that the investment in the infrastructure seems to be top-shelf. Drainage is good, the roads are good, there's public water and sewer, underground utilities, a sidewalk, trees that will keep getting bigger. Functional things not noted for their visual appeal have an aesthetic character that cannot be denied.

I found myself asking the usual questions: Why couldn't there have been a grid street layout instead of the typical loopy roadway pattern? Why didn't they invest just a few more dollars in the house design? Were any sustainable features considered?

How long will this last? What will it look like in 50 years?

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