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Old 09-08-2019, 10:02 PM
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What Architectural Style House is This?


Mods there should be a factual answer to this question, but if it starts to sound more like IMHO feel free to move it as appropriate.

My wife and I just purchased a house and can't seem to agree on what style of house it is. It was listed as a Ranch-style home, but that doesn't really fit from my perspective, other than being a single story. My wife thinks it's more of a Craftsman-style house, but it sure doesn't look like a craftsman to me.

Here it is so you can see it from the front.

What say you experts? Is it a ranch style, a craftsman, or something different?
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:13 PM
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I’m not an expert by any means, but I’d say it looks closest to a Cape Cod style. Definitely not Ranch and equally not Craftsman.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:27 PM
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Definitely doesn't look like a traditional Craftsman-style house, which typically (but not always, of course) have front porches, often with angled pillars.

Ranches traditionally have lower rooflines, and a flatter front, than your house, but I found this houseplan which is labeled as a ranch, and that looks not unlike your house.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 09-08-2019 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:56 PM
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It's the byproduct of a modern house designer, I would say, who's stolen concepts from multiple designs. The tall roof is reminiscent of French chateaus, but in this case stuck on a common bungalow, Ditto for the artsy-fartsy bay window and multiple peaks, all park for a house design trying hard to not look like the little boxes made of ticky-tack like the song. The fake rock base and entrance, also an option, to avoid having the house all siding and hence boring-looking. (The "rock" is usually cast coloured cement blocks mortared onto the plywood wall sheathing. The villa roofline was an option for my house in a new subdivision when we built it 10 years ago, the house next door has that roofline. We also have rock along the baseline (front only) and entrance.

So short answer - mongrel design.

Last edited by md2000; 09-08-2019 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:02 PM
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It doesn't have a traditional named and recognized architectural style. It's an amalgam of various features that the developer's architect put together in hopes it would appeal to a certain demographic of purchasers.

Most architectural style names are applied in retrospect, sometimes decades after the buildings were built. What we now call Art Deco, for example, was at the time mostly just referred to as "the modern style," or at best Moderne. It wasn't called Deco until the 1960s, and the name wasn't broadly applied until after some 1980s museum exhibitions.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:44 AM
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I agree with md2000 and Mr. Downtown that the house draws on several different styles and can’t be called one or the other.

The only thing I’d add is that those tall roofs aren’t just on chateaus in France. I’d say that this house is mostly a hybrid of neo-Norman and pseudo-French-farmhouse styles. But the siding (along with a few other details) doesn’t make sense with those styles, so yeah, this is an amalgam.

I definitely wouldn’t say the house is part of the craftsman tradition, but it’s a mishmash that’s not obviously from any one tradition. I’m not denigrating your new house, by the way. I hope you enjoy it!
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:20 AM
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So short answer - mongrel design.
Or, in sales language, "uniquely eclectic".
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:47 AM
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...

So short answer - mongrel design.
"Nouvelle Pastiche" gives it a much classier and continental air.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:07 AM
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Just call it "post-modern". That covers just about anything.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:25 AM
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I’m not an expert by any means, but I’d say it looks closest to a Cape Cod style.
No chimney and very asymmetric, so definitely not Cape Cod.

Given the mish-mash of stylings - steep gables, asymmetry, bay window - I'd characterise it as Neo-eclectic, the actual name for that sort of modern melange style.

Last edited by MrDibble; 09-09-2019 at 03:26 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:31 AM
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Just call it "post-modern". That covers just about anything.
Post-modern architecture is a lot more fun and colourful than that house.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:56 AM
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Post-modern architecture is a lot more fun and colourful than that house.
On occasion. Sturgeon's Law still applies.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:08 AM
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My wife and I just purchased a house
Congratulations. Enjoy it in good health
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:58 AM
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On occasion.
Colourful and fun (well, humour and camp, YMMV in terms of what's "fun") are kind of characteristic of the style, not an occasional achievement.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:27 AM
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I always assumed "ranch" simply meant "living spaces all on one level." Whereas terms like "craftsman" or "midcentury modern" described architectural styles.

So I'd call that a ranch. If the house next door had a similar style but 2 stories above grade, I'd call that a "2-story", rather than "colonial." Not sure whether the style has any particular name. Just looks like a great many houses built in the last couple of decades of the 1900s, into the 2000s. The combination of elements make it hard to assign any ter such as "frame" or "brick" to it. My wife and I are pretty big fans of all things arts and crafts/craftsman. I would NEVER dream of calling your home craftsman.

None of this is intended to say anything unpleasant about your home. It looks very nice. I'd just call it a single story "house." Enjoy it.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:04 AM
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The flying butresses are a nice touch (meant only half sarcastically). My gut reaction is that it's a pretty little house. At the same time I've been reading too much McMansion Hell, and although this isn't big enough to be called a McMansion, it does borrow rather a LOT of details from one.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:08 AM
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McMansion

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McMansions often mix a bewildering variety of architectural styles and elements, combining quoins, steeply sloped roofs, multiple roof lines, complicated massing and pronounced dormers, all producing what some consider an unpleasant jumbled appearance.
My bolding

Last edited by Charlie Tan; 09-09-2019 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:35 AM
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Re: multiple rooflines, that is something I've long noticed. I used to count the different roof planes on houses as I walked the dog. On an older peaked roof, there would be only 2 planes. A hipped roof would have 4. Maybe add a dormer or 2, but the total would still be in single digits. I think my late-50s split-level has 10.

Vastly different from much (most?) newer construction, which can have 20 or more. The OP's house is not on the excessive end of this, but I count 8 roof planes from the front alone.

The higher the number is not inherently bad, but I tend to think it looks unnecessarily "busy." I also tend to fear that the places where the various planes meet might be at greater risk for accumulating leaves and debris and developing leaks. I also tend to disfavor structures that are purely for looks. Such as a balcony no one would ever stand on. The OP's home does not do this to any great degree, but it is quite common.

The OP's relatively "generic" styled house is different from what I often see, where homes seem inspired by various remote places or even fantasy. Rather than just a "house", here i the Chicago burbs one house might be an interpretation of a farmhouse, next door to a cape cod fantasy, next to a french chateau... I'm not saying that anyone should refrain from building a home in whatever style they wish, or that any "generic" style is "best." Just observing that much modern architecture seems to involve some measure of "fantasy." But I assume it always has. Maybe just used to be exercised primarily by the wealthiest...
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:16 AM
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"Ranch" is used to describe both a certain style of home but it is also used by real estate agents as a catch-all for "any single story home that isn't one of these other types." Your house fits into the latter grouping. Eventually, so many homes like yours will be in that group that either "ranch" develops the more inclusive meaning or we'll find some new term to describe your home. Perhaps something like "contemporary rambler."

And enjoy your new house!

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Old 09-09-2019, 09:30 AM
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Colourful and fun (well, humour and camp, YMMV in terms of what's "fun") are kind of characteristic of the style, not an occasional achievement.
Colorful I'll give you, but fun? Fun is subjective. Post-modern buildings may aspire towards "fun", but they mostly achieve "eye-rolling". YMMV, of course
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:30 AM
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Faux-Tudor.

(I just looked it up--it's a real word! That's no fun!)

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Old 09-09-2019, 09:35 AM
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Can folk show what they think of as ranch "style"? I'm thinking pretty much a single-story self-contained rectangle, with the living areas, kitchen, and bedrooms all fitting inside a rectangular footprint, with a pretty simple roofline. Maybe an "L" to include a family room or garage.

For example, this is clearly what I consider to be a ranch.

I've heard the term rambler, but never really understood what that meant. I guess I assumed a single-story home that was NOT as compact as what I described above. So I guess it could apply to the OP's home the way the front building line varies, and the left side seems to be other than a straight line. In my mind, I imagine a rambler strives for more differentiation between the various living areas, such as the bedrooms in a wing separate from the entertaining areas.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:57 AM
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"Nouvelle Pastiche" gives it a much classier and continental air.
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Just call it "post-modern". That covers just about anything.
Post-something style? Maybe "Post-style" style.

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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Faux-Tudor.

(I just looked it up--it's a real word! That's no fun!)
fake Tudor generally involves the stucco between planks that masquerade as black-painted solid oak beams.

Still, it's basically the designer trying to avoid being boring; mix and match rooflines, additional roof planes, features like bay windows, assorted siding, rock, etc. to avoid the image of cookie-cutter houses. So it's not any particular style, but if it works and you don't find the look unpleasing, it's a house and it's fine. Looks like several of the houses on my street. The only concern is the colour scheme. If you like it, good - there were 2 pink stucco houses in our area, until someone painted one dark grey. IMHO - As long as your house doesn't look like a flamingo nesting ground, you're ahead of the curve.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:25 PM
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I always assumed "ranch" simply meant "living spaces all on one level."
There's more to it than that. For one thing, I'd say the OP's roofline has too steep a pitch to be ranch, and the eaves are way too narrow. Also, bay windows are not very ranch. Other elements, like the asymmetry and the mixed facings, are.

That's why the eclectic part of Neo-eclectic.

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Fun is subjective. Post-modern buildings may aspire towards "fun"
Just aspiring is sufficient.

Personally, I fucking hate Frank Gehry and all his works with every fibre of my being, but I can see what he thinks he's doing.

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Old 09-09-2019, 12:31 PM
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McMansion
My bolding
IMO, to be a Mcmansion, you need at least one of:
a) multiple stories; or
b) unnecessary size.

I don't think the OP's house qualifies as either of those two.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:28 PM
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Never heard of neo-eclectic before. Thanks. Good to have a word to describe such houses.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:52 PM
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IMO, to be a Mcmansion, you need at least one of:
a) multiple stories; or
b) unnecessary size.

I don't think the OP's house qualifies as either of those two.
My bolding.

I think the steep roof qualifies as being unnecessary.

I don't know where this is located, but the windows/walls ratio looks as if it will be fairly dark inside. The bay window looks as if it sits at the end of a smallish wing, and I wonder what can fit there. A bay window protruding from a larger area will make a nice nook, but on its own I think it will be cramped. I think that wing was added to break up the front wall of the house and make it look less 'boring', w/o actually serving any kind of practical function.

As for multiple stories, to me it kinda looks like someone pressed a two story house into the ground and added a front door. The roof would be much better looking - or at least more proportional - on a taller building.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:56 PM
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My bolding.

I think the steep roof qualifies as being unnecessary.
Don't know where the house is in terms of snow. I always gathered Montana gets a lot, so I don't know about "unnecessary" there.

But that's not what I mean by "size", I mean area (> 3000 sq ft), high ceilings (8-9 ft) and number of rooms - multiple spare bedrooms, but also often extra unnecessary shit like reception rooms, "great rooms" and the like. Also, big on its lot, not proportional.

The OP's house looks nothing like that from that pic.

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Old 09-09-2019, 04:53 PM
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It's the byproduct of a modern house designer, I would say, who's stolen concepts from multiple designs.
My answer was going to be Modern Mansionette Nightmare.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:30 PM
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The flying butresses are a nice touch (meant only half sarcastically). My gut reaction is that it's a pretty little house. At the same time I've been reading too much McMansion Hell, and although this isn't big enough to be called a McMansion, it does borrow rather a LOT of details from one.
I wouldn't call it a McMansion around here. McMansions are, by definition very standard looking buildings, done cheaply, ie as standard as possible.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:47 PM
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The name for this house is simply "contemporary." Yes, it could be described as generic, and aesthetically unconnected to the established prestige styles of architecture with 100 years or more of respected and beloved traditions. No, it does not have the classic rustic heft of a Craftsman, or the clean modern lines of a mid-century Ranch, or the old-world charm of a Tudor. It doesn't have any of that. And, as a real estate broker, I would rather deal with someone buying, or selling, the OP's house, than any one of those authentic houses from storied architectural traditions, ANY fucking day of the week.

What it lacks in history, it also lacks in headaches.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:09 PM
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Personally, I fucking hate Frank Gehry and all his works with every fibre of my being, but I can see what he thinks he's doing.
Absolutely!

I had the misfortune to once be in a hospital room just across the river from one of his monstrosities. This horror is covered in tin foil, and the afternoon sun glares off of it and directly into the hospital rooms of patients, many confined to beds and unable to escape the pitiless glare of the 'ugliest building in Minnesota'.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:17 PM
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Most architectural style names are applied in retrospect, sometimes decades after the buildings were built. What we now call Art Deco, for example, was at the time mostly just referred to as "the modern style," or at best Moderne. It wasn't called Deco until the 1960s, and the name wasn't broadly applied until after some 1980s museum exhibitions.
I've noticed the same thing, and am wondering what the Corporate Campus architecture will be called which has been going on for a couple decades, which is not quite the same thing as the International style it is closest to since it relies even more heavily on glass, and features non-perpendicular, yet geometric and non-ornamental, lines, which doesn't fit with either its ancestors in the more minimalist wing of modern architecture nor its more decorative cousins.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:29 PM
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Thanks, everyone. Good comments.

I like the term "neo-eclectic" or "contemporary" since it doesn't fit any other established architectural style. I don't know who designed it or built it, but it is 15 years old and I am buying it from its second owner who is currently going through a divorce.

The small lot borders a canal that leads to a yacht harbor in Bigfork, MT on Flathead Lake. The house comes with a dock for our pontoon boat. (We can now sell the slip we own in the yacht harbor or lease it for the season.) We get quite a bit of snow here, which might explain the high-pitched roof.

This house is not part of planned development. Someone just bought the lot and had the house designed and built. The neighborhood has a mix of many different styles of houses, but most are contemporaries with a lot of wood and rock on the outsides. This house stands out from the others somewhat but that doesn't bother me. It's 3,280 sf and has a large great room and no formal living room. The bay window you see on the left is part of the office that I will be occupying so I can see if anybody pulls up to the front.

My wife found this house and lobbied for it for 6 months before we made an offer. At my age, a one-story house on a small lot is very appealing compared to being on 6.5 forested acres that require a lot more maintenance than you could imagine.

Last edited by dolphinboy; 09-09-2019 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:10 AM
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Faux-Tudor.

(I just looked it up--it's a real word! That's no fun!)


What’s Tudor about it?!


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Old 09-10-2019, 07:16 AM
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Thanks, everyone. Good comments.

I like the term "neo-eclectic" or "contemporary" since it doesn't fit any other established architectural style. ...
Contemporary is a curious term - as is "modern. Because it is a moving target. What will it be called in 50 years?

I had generally thought of "contemporary" as denoting boxy structures with flat roofs, and a lot of right angles and glass. But perhaps that was contemporary 20 years ago.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the "style" of house, and would just do what it took to make it my "home." I imagine the interior is very livable, and the location looks and sounds divine. Enjoy it in good health for many years!
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:39 AM
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Personally, I fucking hate Frank Gehry and all his works with every fibre of my being, but I can see what he thinks he's doing.
<looks up Frank Gehry and his designs>

<gapes in horror>

People hire this man? They actually build his designs? Those things look horrible, and I bet they leak at every joint. If that's not a pure example of the "I don't understand what he's doing, so he must be a genius!" attitude, I don't know what is.

Is this the same dude who crumpled up a piece of paper and turned the result into an office building?
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:44 AM
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Let me join the Gehry pileon. While I dislike the general overly cute and clever architecture he embodies, it's mostly harmless except for his own work, which makes me physically ill. It's supposed to be disorienting and succeeds too well in that. I don't mind architecture that makes you mentally uncomfortable as it is exciting to challenge yourself once in awhile, but I draw the line at physically uncomfortable.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:52 AM
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People hire this man? They actually build his designs? Those things look horrible, and I bet they leak at every joint.
My former client was the patron for a Gehry building. It does indeed leak, uncontrollably, leading to multiple lawsuits. But people talked about the building when he announced the gift, when the architect was named, when the building was unveiled, when it won awards, and when the lawsuits happened. If your goal in giving a gift is to be remembered, this Gehry building worked like a charm.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:27 AM
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What’s Tudor about it?!


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The second door is probably in the back.

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Old 09-10-2019, 12:55 PM
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Contemporary is a curious term - as is "modern. Because it is a moving target. What will it be called in 50 years?

...
Rubble?

My thought is that many of the structures we are building today will be gone in 50 to 100 years. we're not building with stone blocks, and unless it's a concrete shell, it will probably be ready to be torn down in less than a century, unlike the sturdy structures from past centuries.

The big solid concrete ones from the 70's and 80's are already being called "brutalist".
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:22 PM
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If by that you mean the heyday of "brutalism" was the 70s and 80s, I'm not aware of many famous unfinished concrete structures in the 80s although I do think I have seen some: to me it seems more of a 50s through the mid-70s thing although I have seen some unpainted concrete buildings in Charleston WV from the late 70s.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:26 PM
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Although the larger point stands in that they didn't call themselves Brutalist besides a handful of people in the 50s.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:38 PM
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Rubble?

My thought is that many of the structures we are building today will be gone in 50 to 100 years. we're not building with stone blocks, and unless it's a concrete shell, it will probably be ready to be torn down in less than a century, unlike the sturdy structures from past centuries.

The big solid concrete ones from the 70's and 80's are already being called "brutalist".
You are underestimating how durable wood framing is. As long as the house is properly sided and roofed, and insect-proofed, it will last a long time. Think about how many wooden Victorian houses are still standing.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:39 PM
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I wouldn't call it contemporary, in fact I'd call it traditional. It's not any particular style beyond that. It's basically a McMansion in detailing and massing, if not scale, and those are almost always this sort of nondescript traditional look dialed up to 11. The word contemporary (used interchangeably with modern) evokes images of flat roofs, funky geometry, large windows, and a lack of formality, not the double-hung windows, gable roofs, and siding on display here. It may qualify as contemporary in the sense that it's "what all builders are doing right now" but that's not how the term is generally applied. You could maybe say it's contemporary vernacular, today's equivalent of the non-architect-designed house from a plan book or the builder's minimally trained staff. However, vernacular is also characterized by the use of local materials and knowledge, and responding to local conditions. Today's production homes are none of those things beyond the broadest of strokes (houses in the southwest are stucco with clay tile roofs, whereas they are brick or siding with shingle roofs in the rest of the country). So I'd just stick with generic traditional, since explaining contemporary vernacular requires too many asterisks.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:46 PM
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The big solid concrete ones from the 70's and 80's are already being called "brutalist".
That's ... not what Brutalist means. And you're late by several decades.

Last edited by MrDibble; 09-10-2019 at 03:47 PM.
  #47  
Old 09-10-2019, 11:09 PM
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While historically, architectural styles were mostly given names in retrospect, as I described upthread; there's a different phenomenon at work in recent decades. Certain architectural movements that have a close linkage to academia—by which I mean more talking than building—have names almost from the beginning, because of course journal articles must be published. In that category, I'd put "International Style," Brutalism, Deconstructivism, Post-Modernism, and Neo-Futurism. But as these terms come into use among a broader public, they lose their theoretical rigor and start to encompass knockoffs, camp followers, and buildings that are only vaguely reminiscent.

So Brutalism now to most people just refers to 1970s era structural concrete buildings, rather than the artistic possibilities of unfinished concrete (béton brut in French). And Post-Modernism, or PoMo, has become an epithet used by fans of modern styles to dismiss anything that uses traditional materials or any hint of ornament.
  #48  
Old 09-11-2019, 06:40 AM
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I admit I use postmodern freely because I would feel rigorously entitled to use it if the architect deliberately used contrasting mashups of styles, but a lot of the time it's difficult to tell if it was deliberate or just an ugly choice of themes so I don't take the time to do so. Most of the time I use it lately I apply it to the style of convenience stores / restaurants that have been popping up over the past 4 or so years which incorporate the sleek lines of Modernism but where each "panel" or post is a different traditional/nontraditional style.

In the case of the OP it's not contrasting enough for me to immediately jump to that label. With regards to Craftsman, I couldn't get a good look at the door but from afar it did remind me of Arts and Crafts so there is that.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
That's ... not what Brutalist means. And you're late by several decades.
I know, but the English interpretation seems appropriate.

Those are likely the few types of buildings from the 20th century that seem build to last - although so many are just concrete cast element facings on steel frames, that are fragile and leaky and prone to spontaneous detachment as they age.
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