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A Field Guide to Ugly Houses - Style Abuse Disorder (SAD)

I am not an advocate for building in a "style".  Thinking of buildings as simply constructions that you can hang different style clothes on runs counter to my work as an architect.  However, if you don't have an architect or don't want one, maybe the nineteenth century idea of pattern books is a good idea to help you avoid Style Abuse Disorder (SAD).

A Field Guide to Ugly Houses - the taxonomy

A field guide to ugly houses

I look at a lot of ugly houses.  No one who has a really beautiful house needs my help as an architect - they are willing to live with a too small house or a dysfunctional house because it is so well-suited to its site and well-composed.  No, as about half my work is in renovations and additions, I see awkward houses with garage snouts sticking out front, Cape Cods with a cornucopia of bad additions, and lots and lots of ranchburgers. What has struck me over the years is that house-ugly comes in distinct forms.  There is a veritable taxonomy of classification for the types of ugly, bad, horrible and embarrassing houses.

Sunshine Canyon A-frames

I am working on a remodel and addition to an odd A-frame hybrid house at the base of Sunshine Canyon, just west of Boulder.  The original house, built in 1964, was designed by architect Richard Brown.  Brown designed a number of these modified A-frame houses, mostly around Boulder, before he later took that form and proceeded to design churches.

ranch redux - from plain jane builder house to crafted modern home

ranch redux - from plain jane builder house to crafted modern home

Re-imaging South Boulder - some before and after photos of some of our projects in South Boulder, transforming generic builder houses from the 1960’s into finely crafted modern homes fine-tuned for their specific sites and homeowner’s needs

architecture - climate and region; some thoughts on southern mansions

I have been thinking  a lot lately about vernacular architecture and indigenous responses to local climate.  By that I mean how a building and design practice, over time, has found architectural solutions to solve some of the problems posed by heat and cold, sunlight and shadow, aridity and humidity.  Reading through some older posts on my delving into the possibility of trying to define a Colorado vernacular, it strikes me that very few of those examples I identified tackled the issues of heat and solar gain.  That might sound like a recent concern, more one of energy use and sustainability, but a few quick glances at traditional southern architecture reveals design/technological solutions that we have largely forgotten in the age of air-conditioning.