McMansions Arch2O

Have you ever wondered what the most despised Architectural style in America is? Yes, McMansions. So, what does this even mean? The term is slang for a vast, sometimes luxurious or extravagant, mass-produced mansion. The name has a slightly negative meaning because McMansions are thought to lack architectural distinctiveness, sophistication, or flair.

What’s considered a McMansion?

©Houston Chronicle, Pinterest

The reasons behind the collective dislike of McMansions are beyond the idea of just being ugly houses. Architecture critic Kate Wagner has dedicated her website to highlight the absurdities of mass-produced single-family suburban homes. Although her blog “McMansion hell” is hilarious, it cleverly educates the public.

Why Are McMansions Considered An Epic Architecture Fail?

Here we explain five reasons why the McMansions are abhorred and how they are ruining architecture as we know it:-

1. Experts at space wasting

While most architects strive as much as they can to save space, McMansions take space waste to a whole new level. Although the homeowners of most of the McMansions are billionaires, that is no excuse for squandering money on unoccupied space. If you think expensive houses mean luxury, think again. These buildings are an exceptionally wasted investment and have low resale values.

Courtesy of McMansion Hell

According to Kate Wagner, a McMansion area usually occupies at least 500 square feet of extra space than the average American house. You would assume you can have many excesses with a space reaching up to 3000 square feet. However, most of that extensive space is just a complete waste. For instance, most McMansions have a triple-sized entrance lobby where absolutely nothing happens.

Also read:- Architectural Failures: Why Did these Structures Collapse in the Past Few Decades?

Epic Architecture Fail of McMansions

Courtesy of McMansion Hell

Even worse, sometimes the space is too ample to ruin the room’s function. Sometimes the distance between a living room and a television is too considerable that it would destroy a movie night for anyone with average sight.

2. A crime against suburban homes

Courtesy of McMansion Hell

There is a difference between simple suburban homes that convey the warmth of the countryside and those pretentious cookie-cutter homes. Although McMansions may look like traditional suburban homes at first glance, they are not the same. Firstly, McMansions are poorly designed, and surprisingly they are cheaply constructed. These homes always incorporate foam elements in the facade which are not only cheap but also useless, impractical, and not durable.

Epic Architecture Fail of McMansions

Courtesy of McMansion Hell

Additionally, McMansions have robbed the original suburban homes of what made them beautiful; family bonds. The cozy lifestyle that exudes warmth and social coherence is nowhere to be found in a McMansion. This is primarily due to the large and poorly designed spaces that unintentionally drive household members away from each other.

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3. Lack of architectural integrity

Courtesy of McMansion Hell

In other words, McMansions use fake and useless elements with no clear architectural function. So, they neither emphasize form nor function. This is mainly why Kate Wagner, owner of “McMansion hell,” considers the design approach for these houses disrespectful.

Additionally, McMansions tend to merge elements from various architectural styles in an attempt to create a hybrid style. Sadly, the result is an eclectic, random, distorted version of all these styles. In McMansions, even the interiors feel fake and contrived due to the exaggerated scales and out-of-place furniture that does not even make you feel at home.

For instance, you may enter the bathroom and find a chandelier that belongs to a 16th-century Gothic cathedral. These expensive installations are one of the many unreasonable ways to increase the market price value of a McMansion.

4. Proportions don’t even matter

Courtesy of McMansion Hell

Architects use scale and proportions globally to give buildings aesthetic value while properly maintaining their functionality. Producing balanced and well-proportioned aesthetic facades is a priority for architects, which applies to the exterior and interior alike. McMansions, on the other hand, beg to differ entirely. Other than producing an aesthetically displeasing form, this imbalance and lacking sense of proportions make the McMansions impractical.

For instance, this McMansion below does not only use about a million shapes and sizes of windows in the facade but, more importantly, displaces shutters. McMansions have an oddly shaped roof that is neither pitched nor flat; it is the “nubbed” roof. Typically, distortion is the end result. Another proportional setback would be the humongous bathrooms. Leaving a massive space between the sinks will not add any “luxury” or elegance to your oversized bathroom.

Courtesy of McMansion Hell

5. Reckless Use of Materials.


Even if you do not have an artistic eye that spots the tiniest details, you will notice, at first glance, that a mess is going on a McMansion’s facade. This is because a McMansion’s exterior is more of a poor art and crafts project done by a toddler rather than a mixture of styles. You could find a McMansion’s exterior employs a Mediterranean style, then adds a Greco-Roman classical pediment and a Mid-century European gabled roof but with an immature twist.

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