“The Architecture of American Houses” in one poster

A new poster covers over 400 years of residential architecture in the United States:


In all, the new poster features 121 hand-drawn American homes divided up into seven primary categories—Colonial, Folk/Vernacular, Romantic, Victorian, Eclectic, Modern, Neo-Eclectic—and 40 subdivisions, such as Italian Renaissance Revival, Ranch, and the dreaded McMansion.

Just mail me a copy and I will put it on the wall in my office. Three quick thoughts on the styles depicted:

1. I don’t see the split-level. Of course, it could be built in a variety of these styles but it is a unique arrangement that is common in many suburban areas.

2. The McMansion is at the bottom left as a separate category and it looks appropriately large, out of proportion, and multi-gabled. Yet, how different is it from the other “new traditional designs” on the rest of the bottom row? The “new traditionals” depicted here are more architecturally pure but they are similarly large. How much architectural mismash qualifies a house to be a McMansion? And can’t a architecturally accurate yet overly large, particularly if a teardown, still be considered a McMansion?

3. The subdivision grouping idea is an interesting one as it implies certain kinds of homes are found together. This probably is often the case as subdivisions typically have a limited number of designs and are built within a several year stretch. Yet, some places may not match this due to longer development spans (imagine a place with larger lots initially that are later broken up and built on) or denser urban areas where there is more construction and housing turnover.

One thought on ““The Architecture of American Houses” in one poster

  1. Pingback: Defining a McMansion, Trait #3: Architecture and design | Legally Sociable

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