I find it interesting when people have opinions with no direct knowledge of things. It’s like slamming a person you have never met or had any contact with…
I know the people who live in the houses you are talking about and I’ve been a guest in them. They are incredible! Living in them is just the best possible experience. There’s light, color, and a sense of fun… great use of space; (no dead spaces in the house whatsoever.) The details are freaking unbelievable. The kitchen is all in steel, sealed MDF, and touch latch panels (no handles) clean and efficient. The materials honest and of the highest quality. The bathrooms are a dream, all in white tile, mirror, steel and frosted and non-frosted glass. You don’t even have to buy a shower curtain; there’s a piece of glass for the water. The fixtures are beautiful (Philip Starck.) There are built-in cabinets in the stair elements and behind the mirrors, and built in shelving… They feel SO much more spacious than “traditional houses” that have greater sq ft area.
They are built with sustainable materials and insulated structural panels. The siding you will never have to paint. The outside spaces are the perfect gathering area. They work as well with wild parties than with intimate dinners of two. And no mosquitoes to boot (copper screens and sliding custom steel doors). From these porches you can interact with the neighbors and with the interior of the house at the same time… I could go on and on.
I find it incredible that you take a guy who’s put years of work to make something especial and truly contemporary, but still full of warmth and play, and slam his design without even seeing it or experiencing it. Well, at least the GA Gallery in Tokyo hangs the Ramp House next to work of Legorreta, Meier, Alto, etc… And Twin Peaks was published in the GA house projects next to the same kind of company… but does GA Magazine sell in Austin? (bah, it’s only the most prestigious architecture magazine in the world.)
In Europe, where the buildings are really old (like in Venice, Italy) they don’t let you build new stuff imitating the old. It’s absurd. Each century its own. All the idiots building cheap imitations of Mediterranean villas over here (and Tudor, and French, and arts and Crafts, and bungalows, and imitation everything@#$$**!!!) haven’t noticed (because they don’t travel outside of the country, just like some of you I’m afraid) that the architecture going on these days in the Mediterranean or in the truly old towns is modern@!! and it contrasts nicely with the old, like it always did. Same with a 65 yr. old neighborhood.
MJ Neal’s houses take into consideration the height of the buildings around them in the design of the porches or in the setting back of the ramp house, for example… The siding is similar to what they use, minus the fake wood grooves and the cheap paint. The houses are also looking at the tall pecans and taking them into consideration… but as far as style, every period its thing, the rest is just IMITATIVE AND FAKE.
Sure, let’s get more of the builder wreckage that constitutes the 98% of the building poisonous crop these days. Let’s breath more of the out-gassing of the fake wool carpets… Fake mullions, fake Styrofoam arches, and fake stucco to you all! Crappy, tacky kitchens and bathrooms, oh and please let’s have the high pitched roofs for the heavy Texas snow! And if the window of your bedroom opens into your neighbor’s bathroom, who cares? (We’ll just let the blinds down, like in every other room!) We go with the $2,000 blueprint, so what if we have to cut down the pecan trees? You don’t want to nestle the houses up between the trees and save electricity and fit them nicely in the site. Some idiots at some forum may consider it pretentious, so lets cut the trees and say they were sick and make a huge foundation to fit a single story pitched roof imitation shack for the 40’s, so we are not attacked. Oh! and they’ll call you a drug user. You are dreaming too high.
Who cares what you could really do, or really live like? Mom had all these pretty curtains on the windows and crap all over the kitchen, so it must be what “home” is. But beware if you are different! You may give some ignorant slime from two hours away that’s never seen the house a jealousy attack!