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Other Tangents

What Not to Build, But What to Love

Sometimes you don't know what you want, but at least knowing what you don't want is a step in the right direction. This bold example of, let's call it, a single-family castle, helps teach us all a little lesson.

June 22, 2011

I don't really know where this post is going but I know what thoughts I'm feeling right about now.

No. No. No.

I just got back from a road trip to Boise, Idaho, and back and encountered this particular beauty while driving through some of Boise's beautiful residential neighborhoods. I'm still speechless after seeing this monster. Do you see the moat? It's there! Truly one needs a moat to keep the neighbors away. And what you can't see from this photo are the fact that the neighboring houses are just feet away. This isn't some isolated mountain "estate" where someone can endeavor to create their own Kingdom with harming anyone. It is your neighbor.

Shudder.

But, wait, hold on... Could there be something positive about this? Let me aim to be the devil's advocate here as I think it is important to write about the positive bits of architecture rather than just focus on bashing stuff. Mind you, I'll give it that this particular piece of, um, building, makes it very, very, very, easy to pick apart what's wrong, but what could indeed be right with this urban castle?

It's a Landmark! For one, everyone will have a landmark to help in giving directions! "It's three doors down from the castle with the moat... Yup, don't ask, you'll know it when you see it".

We can't all live in beige tract homes. As someone who supports neighborhood individuality and has no love for covenants in gated communities, I support that it is someone's land and they should be able to build on it what they want; even if what they want is... this.

I climb a notch on the architecture scale. It helps distinguish architects like myself from other architects. I mean, we can't all be the same, right? And if a client wants this, well, then they should be able to find someone who can design this for them... assuming they all didn't die from the bubonic plague.

How can't you support passion? The owner of this (I am praying it isn't a speculative home, if it is, all bets are off), clearly loves what they're building. You can't spend that much money and time creating something so bold that you're not passionate about. So, more power to the owner. If we all had the balls to do what we want and live the life we want to live it would be a better world. And if this owner wants to lower his drawbridge every night to get home (I didn't check for one but I REALLY hope there is one), then more power to him!

It is unforgettable! Finally, the best thing about this truly awful home (whoops, I was trying to keep it positive...let me clarify, this is a truly awful home in my architectural opinion...), is that it gives us all something to talk about, laugh about, smirk, smile, giggle, cry, whatever. Architecture should inspire emotion! Not every piece of architecture out there is going to be loved. Some will try and miss. Some will try and get it, and some, like this, will just miss. But they'll make someone happy, create a diverse neighborhood, and keep us all pointed in the right direction. To the owner of this residence, I truly do salute you for keeping your chin up and making me stop and smell the moat water. If the world had more people like you in it, we'd live in a much more enjoyable world.

Sometimes you don't know what you want but at least knowing what you don't want is a step in the right direction.

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