Would wealthy homeowners rather live in or next to a McMansion or modernist house?

A short look at a Great Falls, Virginia modernist house got me thinking: would the typical wealthy homeowner rather live next to a McMansion or a modernist home? Here is how this house is described on Curbed (and there are lots of pictures as well):

A wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C., Great Falls, Va. is better known for it’s sprawling McMansions than its modernist masterpieces, but this glassy new construction in the woods is adding to the town’s architectural street cred. Distinguished by stark white walls and huge expanses of glass, the sleek home was designed by architect David Jameson and won the 2011 Washington DC AIA Award of Excellence. Thanks to the broad swaths of glass, the modern house achieves a connection to nature that would evade one of NoVa’s typical Italianate McMansions. Worthy of special note is the courtyard, which utilizes a frameless glass railing.

So what makes this modernist house more attractive than a McMansion? Several reasons are given here:

1. It has “architectural street cred.” Namely, it was designed by a known architect and won an award.

2. It is better connected to nature than McMansions.

3. It is not an Italianate facsimile of which the articles suggests there are too many. This house is unique.

But I would be interested in knowing how many suburban residents would choose to live in or live near this modernist house versus choosing a McMansion. The modernist style is not common in the suburbs; unless this house is in a unique neighborhood or has a really big lot, it may stick out from surrounding houses. For the average suburbanite, do the looks of this structure really invoke feelings of home? Might this be of architectural interest but not somewhere people could imagine living?

0 thoughts on “Would wealthy homeowners rather live in or next to a McMansion or modernist house?

  1. I’d love to offer a comment of substance because we make a living discussing and working within the subject (new infill construction) – but until we get some absolute clarity on what is a “McMansion” we don’t know how to respond.

    We do business in some of the wealthiest markets in the country, and IMO, most of the new large homes are just replacing old large obsolete homes – so, can the old house be a McMansion?

    The only common theme we hear/feel that relates to what is a “McMansion” is a housing structure that is unbecoming the neighborhood (by consensus). Personal taste will always get in the way of a clear definition.

    We’re interested to hear how this blog progresses.



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