Do you want a “McMansion of Micro-Houses”?

A new 900-square foot home in New Haven, Connecticut drew some conflicting reviews:

A micro-home debuted in town, a possible solution to New Haven’s pressing absence of affordable housing.

The three-floor, 900-square-foot ski chalet-looking home on a fine elegantly landscaped setback on Scranton Street in West River received generally rave reviews at the debut Thursday afternoon. It also drew a critique: That it’s still too large, too expensive, not a cool enough interior or replicable enough, yet a fine experiment and first step.

That critique came from the guy whose idea the house was. He called it the “McMansion of micro-houses.”…

The house was designed and built by first-year Yale School of Architecture students such as Katie Stege (pictured with her teacher Avi Forman) as part of their required coursework. The work is done under the Jim Vlock First-Year Building Project.

The home – which features some interesting design – is going for $155,000.

The general idea of the new house makes sense: the goal is to build relatively cheap new housing in New Haven yet this home is a bit too big and expensive to fit that bill. But, pairing the negative term McMansion with ideas that are generally lauded – affordable housing and micro-homes – is an odd approach, particularly coming from the funder of the project. It is like saying, “Thank you to the professors and students for the efforts but this home is like the poorly-constructed, overly-large mass produced suburban tract homes built across America.” If you are trying to build good affordable housing that the public will accept, it would behoove you to not apply the McMansion label to it.

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