Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Opposite of Architecture

Via Calculated Risk, galleries of repossessed houses in Los Angeles. This one can stand for a common theme.

It's hardly got any windows on the street side at all! Just two huge garage doors. Those doors are a common feature throughout the show - houses whose outward appearance is totally dominated by monster garages, like a great big fat ugly gob. Anything human in the architecture skulks behind the garage, as if ashamed. It's as if cars designed these buildings for their own use - realising, of course, they needed to make provision for the people, but sadly not being quite able to understand their needs.

This is, of course, not irrelevant to why they are already down one-third of their value. Perhaps we need a word for the opposite of architecture?


Anonymous said...


Just plain 'ugly crap' would also suffice.

Chardonnay Chap said...

Continuing the car theme:

Alastair said...

One huge door and one useless English size garage door. In countries which are hot people actually put their cars in a grage. And it must face the street for obvious reasons. Not a great house I admit but I think you are a bit mean--the 'huge' dooe is the right size...

Anonymous said...

Alex, this is the cul de sac of the McMansionization of America 1999-2006. The squalor outside replicated by the hollow overbuilt spaces within.

But then, even from the Continent or the U.K., what can one expect from the country that lost its way and brought the world the 'Bedazzler'.


Robert said...

Note the shadows (and the palm trees). This is LA, after all. Windows looking out onto the street would be south-facing which means scorching sunlight in the house and problems cooling the place during the summer.

It looks quite a bit like Greenie "passive cooling" house design, the sort of thing which in more northerly climates produces housing with tiny-to-non-existent noth-facing windows.

As for the garage, it's a three-car unit. One double-door and a single door for access. A car for the husband and one for the wife and one for little Tyrone or Tracy when they reach the age of 16. Pretty much standard for American detached housing designs -- I don't think I've ever seen one without at least a two-car garage.

Alex said...

Good point. But surely it didn't have to be so fucking ugly? I mean, you could have changed the floorplan's axis so as to shade the front elevation, but allow for a marginally more humane face into the street?

This post has gone over very well, so shall I do some more? The South-East has no shortage of British carchitecture.

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