Anti-McMansion Movement May Benefit Architects

<p>A recent ruling that upholds the right of local communities to control overbuilding may prove to increase the crackdown on McMansions -- and demand for design professionals and architects.</p>
March 12, 2008, 2pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"One market that could benefit from curbs on super-sized houses is the design profession. Ordinances that steer developers and individuals away from cookie-cutter McMansions, or that require homebuilders to finesse smaller footprints on oddly shaped lots and expand existing houses more tastefully, could increase demand for the services of an architect."

"'I have worked on projects where I've been hired because the zoning is too complex for the homeowner to work through and going for a variance is too big a risk to take,' says Frank Shirley, a residential architect based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 'There's no perfect zoning bylaws, but they do more good than bad.'"

"Other observers caution that it takes more than regulations to encourage quality architecture. 'It's not really about size, it's about design,' says Jeremiah Eck, FAIA, a partner at Boston-based Eck | MacNeely Architects. 'It has to be about artful decisions based in the craft of architecture with full participation by homeowners, designers-I didn't say just architects-and builders. Until we come to see our homes in that way, they will continue to be nothing more than speculative commodities.'"

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Published on Monday, March 10, 2008 in Architectural Record
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