Thursday, November 22, 2007

Finally At Home In The Modern World.

I’m going on my fifth year of Dwell Magazine subscriptions. I love architecture, especially mid-century modern, very geometric design. Over the past years, I’ve read about urban renewal, prefab projects, loft living, and off-the-grid green. Yet I’ve always thirsted for articles more suited for the common family, because let’s face it, sometimes you just want a big backyard, some babysitter-age neighbors, and a cul-de-sac for impromptu kickball tourneys.

After four plus years of constantly lusting over a myriad of modern marvels—Dwell finally released the issue for the rest of us. Their latest installment celebrates suburbia and even showcases a modern reinterpretation of a totally typical tri-level (just like what we have).

This issue exposes the classic subdivision as a critical solution to a unique time in North American history. And despite extraneous things like inoperable shutters and excessive vinyl siding—these homes typically have bones worth preserving. The theory they put forth, with which I completely agree, is that living in and redesigning these homes is a form of sustainability.

Granted a vast majority of the featured renovations cost bucks deluxe—but I can honestly say that I was totally inspired by this particular article. I most likely felt this way because for the first time a Dwell-featured redesign actually seemed attainable. The previous issue did have an article showcasing a modified, blue Cape Cod—the very color and style of my childhood home. And that was inspiring as well; there just ain’t too many Capes out here on the West Side.

Simply put, there is power in good design. And good design can be applied to nearly any image, object, or dwelling—no matter how mundane it may seem or how humble its beginnings. Good design can give spirit to sprawl and turn 'burbs into Bauhaus.

3 comments:

Norm said...

The blue cape cod has inspired me...

kyality said...

I thought it might!

upto12 said...

Just plowed through this issue... and, not to get too intellectual or English-major-y about it all, but it explores some of the same issues that have been explored in some of the better (in my opinion) fiction of the last 50-60 years. There's this idea of beauty and substance everywhere... not just in the gritty urban landscape and in the rough rural farmlands, but also in the homes and lives that fall somewhere in between.

Anyway, it's an idea I can get behind. Made me want to hire an architect and pump a solid $75K into my West Jordie split-level, though. And that's probably not a completely good thing...