Tag Archives: history

I love the suburbs


Call me crazy, but I love suburbs. Ever since watching US movies and television, I have a fascination for them. The idea of urban development specifically designed with space – both private and communal – and convenience in mind is very intriguing to me. And I love how suburbs tend to immediately trigger people; both in positive and negative ways. Some people shiver at the thought of living in cookie cutter homes, with neighbours watching your every step. Others long for the space, yards and convenience that come with a move to ‘the burbs’. And a suburb in the USA is different from a suburb in France for instance. We all know the images of violent riots emerging in the Parisian ‘Banlieu’. And in some countries, suburbs are equally crowded as downtown, and often poorer than their inner-city counterparts. My fascination is limited to the classic leafy suburbs like in the movies. What do you think of when you hear the word?

Levittown. One of the first suburbs in the USA. Returning veterans longed to settle so suburbs emerged in many parts of the country

The very typical suburb Richfield. Once a very dull and uninspiring part of Minneapolis, now a popular place due to its proximity to town.

Brøndby, on the outskirts of Copenhagen

Suburb in China. All homes are the same

Paris banlieu with riot police

The Amsterdam suburb IJburg, takes inspiration from the historic center, with houseboats, canals and back-to-back homes.

Gorgeous Tampa suburb aptly called ‘Beautiful’. And this is the kind of suburb I love……

 

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Book review: Prefab Houses


As you might know, I have a thing with prefab homes. Always have. I love the idea of a cleverly designed home, fit for a contemporary lifestyle, put up in a matter of weeks, sometimes even days. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I got this marvellous Taschen Book ‘Prefab Homes’ as a gift from friends. I am helping them with a design and install for a new bathroom and I recently had my birthday but still out of the blue they surprised me with this marvellous gift.The book is written by Arnt Cobbers and Oliver Jahn, two well-known architecture and design authors. I can highly recommend it. It’s the perfect coffee table book, with tons and tons of inspiring pictures and stories about various prefab home designs and their designers.

Prefab Houses Taschen

Prefab Home

Another page spread from the book Prefab Houses by Taschen

The book is also available in the Homevoyeurs webshop for $47,38. You might be eligible for free shipping!

Prefab Houses Taschen book

Prefab Houses Taschen book

An early example of a prefab home in the book

Own a bit of architectural history; The Affordable Frank Lloyd Wright


In 1895, when this block of apartments was designed, Wright was just starting out as an independent architect. He would need a couple more years to claim his fame with his better known works.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed Chicago townhouse

Frank Lloyd Wright designed Chicago townhouse

The Waller Apartments were designed as a set of five party-wall buildings, each of which was subdivided into four apartments. Wrights usual ornamental and decorative signature is missing. Clean, simple and understated lines showcase the use and functionality of the building; cheap housing.  Though the facades now appear dark and covered with grime, segments have recently been power-washed, exposing the brickwork’s original egg-yolk like colour which make it look a lot brighter.

Over the past century, the apartments have undergone long periods of neglect and abandonment. In 1968, the fourth unit burnt down, and its remains removed. In that time, two of the buildings were converted into town homes, including the two-story townhouse now for sale. After going into foreclosure last year, the three-bedroom, 1,200 square feet unit was put on the market, originally listed at $169,000, but since lowered to an unthinkable $60,000. Extensive interior restoration is required but still, after that you could be the proud owner of a real Wright for a very friendly budget.

source: Architizer Blog