Friday, March 7, 2008
What Do You See?
The original caption was "Redneck Mansion", with the implication that the owner/ residents are from the shallow end of the gene pool. The location is likely some area where infrastructure, development, and resources do not flow endlessly from competing megacorporate Cornucopias, where ingenuity and making do are more valued than what's in your wallet.
Why stay where living is so hard? The beauty of unspoiled land, the real community of friends and extended family, suspicion that chasing rats in a gas-guzzler in the suburbs while your teen-ager deals Cocaine is not worth the move; in short, that the American Dream is not about Consumerism. A lot of us pay lip service to those values, even as we wait in line at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts to chant our well-rehearsed order.
What catches my eye, as a former Architecture major, is the planning of a small community--six or so family units--with the landscape. The footprint is not large, the "found object" or reclaimed units, are arranged creatively and attractively in a unified composition, allowing for public and private spaces. There is a cold frame for gardening, a pond, a weather worn teak bench, planted borders, ivy from the balconies, a lawn chair or three. I doubt a bulldozer was used to scrape the land bare, followed by more machines to dig, and deposit chemicals, finally topped by a spray on lawn.
I find this a hopeful place, vital in ways that most suburbs will not be until they are obsolete forty years after they are built. Think of almost any condo development, with their rulez about your tacky picnic blanket over the rail or your child's toys visible after 5:00 PM.
Let them bury themselves, or, better yet, don't let them at all.