The term “McMansion” is becoming more widely used to describe a newly built home with larger square footage than its neighbors, often using every square inch of lot space and towering above surrounding residences. The word has its own Wikipedia page and an entry in UrbanDictionary.com.
Architects will tell you that one of their most important jobs when designing a home is to take into account the scale and context of the surrounding environment. They are trained to be sensitive to these factors in their work. Two homes on the tour illustrate how designing to scale can result in a home that complements its neighboring homes and enhances the rich texture of the urban environment.
Eric Odor, AIA, describes home #12 in Minneapolis as “the rarest of little birds modestly fluttering amongst its newfound friends,” drawing a parallel between the variety in colors seen among butterflies and the visually rich variety of architectural styles found in many South Minneapolis boroughs. The materials Odor used to clad the home are relevant for today—Ipe and galvanized steel—but their placement and use in combination with traditional materials and architectural details sensitively adds new character to the block.
Home #16 in St. Paul, designed by John Dwyer, AIA, is a streamlined, modern volume whose unfinished cedar exterior helps it blend into the heavily wooded lot it sits on. The architect nestled the structure among the mature oaks on the property, giving the illusion that it emerged organically from its surroundings. Here materiality is used to tie the structure to its environment and soften the modern lines of the home.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit homesbyarchitects.org. Follow us on Facebook (HBA Tour) and Twitter (@aiamn #hbatour).
The 2015 Homes by Architects Tour is supported by Marvin Windows and Doors; Midwest Home; Streeter & Associates; CS Media; Kolbe Gallery Twin Cities; Kroiss Development; Marvin Design Gallery by Shaw Stewart; Mattson MacDonald Young; RLH Studio; Synergy Products; Warners’ Stellian; All Seasons Fireplace; Braaten Creative Woods; Ferguson; Fiddlehead Design Group; Jodi Gillespie Interior Design; Otto Painting Design; Steven Cabinets; TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders; Uson Design Solutions; and American Mortgage & Equity Consultants.
Presented by AIA MN
Photo by Eric Odor