11/21/08 1:38pm

PALLADIAN MCMANSIONS AND YOU “The next time you feel the urge to lament how a freshly built stucco McMansion has replaced two cozy bungalows down the street, consider this: You may be at the intersection where old meets new and bearing witness, as generations past have, to a longstanding battle of urban and rural ideals. At least, that’s one part of the equation, according to University of Houston assistant professor Michelangelo Sabatino. . . . ‘In the suburbs, homeowners aspire to show off verdant lawns as symbols of success. The lawn recalls the agrarian past of the country,’ he says. ‘And yet, if one looks closer, it is more of a simulacrum – just a representation – of this past. Few really want to actually grow vegetables, and few, especially in Texas, seem to want to hang out on the lawn or on porches, preferring the cool of their air-conditioned homes.’ . . . The paradox of today’s McMansion craze – many of them inspired by Palladian motifs, such as symmetry and classical ornament on their facades – is that they don’t reflect the values that originally inspired them, Sabatino says. In a way, this underscores that history is never stagnant, he says, yet it also illustrates that the builders and buyers aren’t really aware of what values inspired [Andrea] Palladio’s architecture. ‘In some cases, Palladio’s legacy has been reduced to mere “style.”’” [dBusiness News]