can prevent an postUsonian revival? Wright built
50 plus to a 100 plus Usonians, depending what you
define them, over a 20 year period; the Case Study
Houses, by Arts and
faded; Joe Eichler went broke; green and organic
architecture remains statistically marginal and all
of these examples of sane housing remain poplular
to this day. What is the problem?
is no simple answer other than to say that the vast
majority of people clearly do not want the kind
of house the Usonian represents and that, perhaps,
many that might do not know it. There are a number
of factors that shape today’s market. I do not believe
that the market actually represent the values of
the majority. I do believe it represents that way
majority will buy given what they understand
their alternatives to be. I also believe that the
is shaped (distorted some would say) by the advertising
of a few and the paradigm of those with influence.
This media world view is an increasing returns phenomena
and deeply imbedded in a now habitual consumer society.
I can talk about this with some sapient authority
because I am old enough to have seen the consumer
society come into existence - I remember when this
was not what
our sense of ourselves, our culture and our environment.
architecture is merely the reflection of the values
of a society, then the masthead picture at the top
of this piece is indeed very good architecture for
it does embody our current social value
set. If the art of architecture is defined to house
life as it
“could and aught to be” then it is not [link].
There is certainly both goodness and room in the
world for widely diverse values and the life-styles
that reflect them. This, however, is not what is
happening. Within a wave of apparent diversity (5,000
brands of soap) is an underlying uniformity - a sameness
that is being amplified by production. The diversity
of the world is disappearing and the uniformity of
our culture is increasing. And, dissent is becoming
more dangerous. There is an increasing conformity
that is “in” and all else is out. Cultures can “forget”
their past; they can careen down a path into a narrow
dead end [rthfBook].
The most prevalent form of conformity in our culture
comes from the increasing returns of success. This is
what an education is. This is what a good
job is. This is
what good credit is. This is
what a good house is. This is the good life.
All else is not credible. There can be differences,
even a degree of creativity and innovation, within
the NORM - but not out of it.
is a vast machine that facilitates the production
of houses. This machine is make up of numerous self-serving
pieces that have grown ad-hoc with no systemic design
mind. Step out of its norms and you will have to
deal with a
from time to time and place to place.
I am going to take this “machine” apart and
analyse its separate components to see what can
To postUsonian Index
To post Usonian Prototypes
May 22, 2004
voice of this document:
VISION PHILOSOPHY PROGRAM
May 22, 2004
May 22, 2004
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this document is about 15% finished)
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