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Modern Architecture


What can one say about this? Well, one can say that newly rich Americans are going through another period of really bad taste. Having money to spare, they can build castles that, if they were really castles, would be as unaffordable as they are improbable. Look at that cut stone in the turrets. Here in New York, we call this sort of thing "Garden State Shitface," after a prominent company, Garden State Brickface, that provides remodeled walkups with an unconvincing patina of venerability.

What's especially lovely here is the scale of the turrets versus the scale of the entry. In real castles, entry is, well, difficult. Castles are not easy to get into. Their gates are not the warm welcoming Arts & Crafts portico that we see here. As for medieval towers, they rarely sport generous, lower-storey windows, such as the one on the left, beyond the entry. What I'm dying to know is whether the three graduated windows on the tower at the right really do signify a staircase to some marvelous attic chamber. I'm inclined to think that, if they do, the space is also accessible by elevator.

But what's really clear, after a long view, is that the entire façade, insofar as it is not dedicated to a Plasticville idea of the middle ages, is really a sort of amplified sweet English cottage, to be populated by vicars and maiden aunts. A century ago, the great architect Edwin Lutyens  found the secret of providing very rich people with houses that didn't, somehow, look very rich, and his work has been much imitated in the past twenty years. But this is a house that makes its inhabitants look ridiculous. Even Enid Lambert would sniff at this fantasy - to her credit.


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You are so right about the scale.....
the turrets are pathetically puny compared to the entry! Never mind that such edifices used to be called "keeps"- the antithesis of an open friendly

Where is the moat?

This reminds me of the crimes of taste inflicted upon some of the beautiful and historical little brick buildings in my old neighborhood of Sunnyside Gardens. Most of the owners who did this appeared to recent immigrants to the US, so our 'patina of venerability' might have seemed to them merely an old brick wall that needed to be covered up with artificial stonework. Drove me nuts.

This photo reminds me of some of the abominations I've seen in Chicago neighborhoods, where developers have torn down perfectly acceptable structures in order to construct massive follies that don't fit in the least with the local architecture but do make an emphatic statement with regard to the financial capacity of the owner. While I equally abhor planned communities in which all houses consist of one of three or four consistent designs and/or color schemes, there should, in my humble opinion, be some deference paid to the character of the area in which one is building. Yet another example of notion that having money doesn't necessarily mean that one has good taste.

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