Must modern houses resemble office buildings?


Low-rise modern dwelling and detached garage – I like the scale, but where’s the landscaping?

A housing trend I’ve noticed in Traverse City is homes being built that look more like an office building rather than a dwelling. I’m all for architectural freedom, but personally it’s not an appealing trend, at least in the manner of how its being employed here.

Perhaps, my favorite of the modern houses in Traverse City, as it at least incorporates some angular roof elements and is separated from the adjacent homes.

Why would you want to go home to a place that resembles where you work? It would be one thing if you live in a downtown area full of high-rise buildings, it’s altogether another if your home is situated along a quiet, tree-lined residential street of mostly Victorian-era or Depression-era homes.

Bauhaus style home in Traverse City – once again, where’s the landscaping?

Drastically over-sized modern home that overpowers its neighbors.

Too often, these modern dwellings can be rather abrupt and sterile structures, as they look and feel completely out of context and out-of-scale with their surroundings. As a result the aesthetic integrity of the entire street can be compromised. The other troubling aspect of these modern homes, is they are almost completely devoid of landscaping. It is almost like the homeowner (or the architect) wants their house to stand out, or literally shout out – “I’m here, look at me!”

Modern Tucson Mountain home that beautifully reflects its desert surroundings – Source: https://design-milk.com/tucson-mountain-retreat-by-dust/

Perhaps I’m just old-fashioned, but the modern dwellings shown in the photos here in Traverse City do not appeal to me, especially because they lack context sensitivity. Some of them could be appealing on a larger parcel, in a transitional location between residential and commercial zones, among like or similar architecture, or in a naturally artistic setting. For example, I adore the Tucson Mountain retreat home shown above and how it blends into its Sonoran Desert surroundings.

Duplex that resembles an office building amidst single-family dwellings.

I’d like to hear feedback from others on their thoughts regarding this topic. Please feel free to comment and/or send photos of modern homes that fit well in their location. Peace!

Modern house addition and detached garage.

This entry was posted in Advocacy, architecture, art, cities, culture, deserts, environment, futurism, geography, historic preservation, history, Housing, land use, landscape architecture, planning, spatial design, urban planning, zoning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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