Daily Archives: February 19, 2010

House of the Future – less generic

My last post was about some of my predictions for the house of the future. I definitely didn’t elaborate enough on a few issues (although I feel somewhat confident I exhausted the prediction for slides in houses), and there were some other predictions that I failed to mention.

I was walking through the magazine isle at the grocery store yesterday when I felt the urge to buy a magazine I haven’t read – something totally unrelated to my daily routine. I checked out Snowboarder, Model Railroader (my son has a serious addiction to trains), Wired, Soldier of Fortune, and some others. And of course I’m a sucker for the architectural magazines (although in a grocery store the “architectural” magazines are really decorating magazines that have articles like “What kind of beige are you?”). One that I just had to peruse was a magazine titled Eco-Sustainable Floor Plans.

I don’t know if you already know this, but all floor plan magazines and books are EXACTLY the same. They all have the same floor plans that were popular in the early 1980s, and they all have the same artist rendering depicting the three stylized options for the facade. (My absolute favorite is a rendering I saw where this very Victorian two-story home was placed in the middle of a ski run on a snow-covered mountain.) So knowing this, I was actually curious to see what made these floor plans more ecologically sensitive than all of the other floor plans I’ve ever seen.

I came across a one-story house on a page filled with green-colored thumbnail images illustrating its sustainable achievements. This was the “sustainable” attribute of this house – “The light-colored siding helps reflect the sun’s energy, thus providing lower energy costs and maintaining a more comfortable interior environment.”

This was the only sustainable feature of this house – off-white siding. This is the angle that the sales supervisor came up with to make these homes appear more sustainable – off-white siding. The houses in these floor plan magazines are nothing more than a Dodge Aries K-Car with some bedazzle applied to it. They are the rudimentary designs that promote maximizing profits. There are some features that are more contemporary than that base model house from 1980, but the core of the design is still a K-Car. Here is a video that demonstrates at least how I feel about the floor plan magazines:

The House of the Future will not be derived from a magazine filled with floor plans designed in the vacuum of space-time. The House of the Future will be designed to respond to the exact site it is to be built, and its primary sustainable feature will not be the color of its exterior siding.

(Note: Just like from this Aries K video, over 85% of people who buy floor plan magazines have a fixed address.)