Tuesday, February 23, 2010

R.I.P. McMansion: Enter a Believable Concept Home

Sure, something called a McMansion probably wasn't going to last forever, but a lot of them were built. McMansions resulted from the excesses of a real estate boom obsessed with resale and "moving up" the housing ladder. No one asked about energy bills or seemed too concerned about how much they really needed that third car in the garage. They assumed they could sell to someone else in a few years for more money.

Those times are certainly over, and perhaps with them, McMansions.

The Home for a New Economy was the 2010 Show House at the International Home Builders Show in Las Vegas. Designed by fellow Notre Dame Architecture graduate Marianne Cusato, among a team of important consultants, the 4 BR / 3.1 BA home is billed as a direct response to current economic, environmental, and demographic concerns.

The house is affordable ($85/sq. ft. construction), livable (no wasted space, no extraneous features), sustainable (green materials, efficient mechanical systems), and adaptable (rooms can be re-purposed as the household changes).

Check out this video on WSJ.com

After taking a virtual tour of the home here (sign-in required), it is clear to the author that this home is a great start as a prototype to show people how they can live just as well in 1,700 square feet as they can in 3,500. While this home is attractive and highly functional, it is important to note that this is not the only physical form a small, usable house can take; well-designed condos, apartments, and other multi-family residential solutions can succeed in this regard, as well.

All of the problems that the prototype addresses are also greatly affected by its ultimate location. As Inside the Brackets previously wrote, we believe strongly in the affordability, livability, sustainability, and adaptability of existing cities as an alternative to new suburban growth.

Would you live in this house? Do you think you could live there for the rest of your life? Let us know what you think.

More about the Home for the New Economy:
Main Site: Home Page of the Home for the New Economy
Builder Magazine Article: Show Home 2010 Tour
CyberHomes Blog Article: Concept Home for the Times

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