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.


Missy said...

Love this.

Paul said...

I am in awe of the ingenuity of this arrangement and appreciate your offering it for our contemplation and for drawing out attention to some of the details. Not where I'd want to live but it seems nonetheless to be a good community in which to live. And much better than sterile condos (I've lived in some of those).

Kirstin said...

I don't know if I'd want to live there, but I can appreciate the creativity in it. I'd like to meet the people.

(Yay, you're posting again!)

Alcibiades said...

Communities like this have (by definition) at their essence something that the McMansions can never offer - community.
Which people will always need far more than they do anything to be found within the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, and which is why (snide remarks about the shallowness of the pool from whence they spring notwithstanding) they shall never cease to bloom.

Doorman-Priest said...

I guess it's not in a windy place then?

susan s. said...

I see a large extended family compound. I was trying to see evidence of 'added on-ness,' but after the white one with the red stripe on the 'first floor' it pretty much looks as if the rest were all added at once. but I'm no carpenter. The one at the very top looks as if it was perched on an upended rail road car.

As Kirstin said, I don't know if I would want to live there.

johnieb said...

My own guess is welded steel I-beams, on which most trailers are built. It could easily be up to code even in a windy locale, though pre-fab/ trailers are more susceptible to wind damage in tornadoes, but so is anything above ground.

The only question I'd have, did an engineer calculate the loads on the frame, especially the cantilevers, or did they just wing it? Otherwise, my objection to living there is Arthritic knees.

pj said...

Looks ingenious to me! And the footprint is very small indeed. It wouldn't be my first choice for accomodations. I'd be afraid of high winds. Or even light breezes.

In defense of suburbs, I live in a nice old one. My house is from the 1920's (and it's dun bin added onto.) Nobody in this neighborhood would take anyone to task for leaving the kids' toys out overnight! 'Ceptin mebbe the kid in question. :)

Padre Mickey said...

I don't know; it made me think of the Swiss Family Robinson. The only home the Lovely Mona and I own is a trailer in the Trinity Alps.

johnieb said...

I thought of that later myself! It's the treehouse thing, I thinks.

Wherez da Trinity Alps?

Nina said...

Having lived in more than one trailer and more than one tacky condo/apartment, I'd go for trailers every time. They tend to have better light and air.

But then I'm the liberal genetic oddity sprung from a long line of rednecks.

susan s. said...

The Trinity Alps are mountains in Northern California, located to the northwest of Redding. Elevations there range from 1,350 feet ( 411 m) to 8,994 feet (2,741 m) at Thompson Peak. The Trinity Alps Wilderness covers 517,000 acres (2,090 km²), making it the second largest wilderness area in California.

Dats Where dey is.

johnieb said...



my line of Rednecks is as long as anybody's; my brother is a Southern Baptist Deacon and my niece still lives in a trailer, so they are continuing the tradition, which I have let lapse.

My trailer/ condo choice came out a little more even: nice condo and a less than deluxe trailer. 'Course, it wuzna that 8 X 32 my friends had fer a spell.

Lindy said...

Well, I wouldn't want to live near that many other people and I like to have terra firma under foot. But, I love the idea of this! And I like the flow of it, so natural the way they flow upwards. Like a river.

I've got two spots picked out on my farm that would be nice for a little place someday. It'll be different, of course. But, I hope it's as real.

Thanks for your insights about this JohnieB. You rock!


Freida Bee said...

Now that there's a tornado magnet if I ever saw one.

I love what you're saying here. I live out in the country a bit, to enjoy nature and live in a green house with solar panels and all, and then have to consume too much gas because I live outside of the bus routes. Oh, and yes, I hate Starbucks, but then I am in a pinch and find ourselves even DRIVING THRU them. Oh, the humanity.