Winner selected for new, greener Barbie house

One columnist takes issue with the winning design selected for the new Barbie house that was intended to be a greener home:

What Li and Paklar imagined was a series of glass cubes stacked on top of each other with enough space underneath the beach mansion for a car or motorbike to park. Very chic, very elevated, very Le Corbusier. The interiors (pink, of course) look airy, clutter-free and, with 4,881 square feet of living space, lonely for a single person. There are bamboo floors and a roof garden with natural irrigation. But even those tiny eco-design gestures cannot offset the fact that Barbie gets to hog a massive house on three acres of pristine West Coast beach. Sorry, girlfriend!

America has been damned by the tyranny of the excessively large house. Check the explosion of square footage over the last half century of the private home, from the modest two-storey of Leave it to Beaver to the sprawling residential heaps featured on The O.C. Barbie once cavorted through her own shopping-mall playset. It was just something she had to have, like a purse.

The problem with the McMansion scenario? It’s unaffordable and unsustainable. But, like Barbie’s impossibly small waist, it’s a dream that everybody is conditioned to want…

Li and Paklar might have been tempted to design a compact, art-filled studio in the heart of Manhattan for Barbie. They might have edited her massive wardrobe down to a few edgy, well-designed outfits and given her a pair of workboots to wear on construction sites. If they had, my bet is they wouldn’t have won the design competition. In America, what suits Harvard-educated architects doesn’t really count. You have to think big, hungry thoughts to get ahead. Just like Barbie.

It sounds like this columnist thinks that McMansions can’t really be green.The fact that the home is large and has a large lot is simply too much to overcome.

Did anyone really think that Mattel would select something small, non-luxurious, or small? Perhaps the selection of this design suggests Americans want green and luxury to come together and don’t want to sacrifice much in order to be green. Therefore, acquiring smaller homes is driven more by economic trouble (people can’t access the actually homes they would want) or individualistic choices (wanting to declutter, simplify, improve, etc.) rather than the idea of sacrifice or helping the world.

The actual home design is more modern than I would have expected. How about a discussion about Barbie’s aesthetic tastes in homes?

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