Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

McMansion Hell website takes dead aim at the worst of modern archtitecture

McMansion in Long Island (Screenshot: YouTube)

The so-called McMansion—generally, any showy domicile larger than the average suburban house but not quite mansion-sized—has become a status symbol for successful professionals who want to show their neighbors that they’ve made it. But these tacky, ostentatious homes are also a bane to anyone who actually cares about good architecture and proper design. That’s where McMansion Hell comes in. This site obsessively catalogs and parodies McMansions, using pictures and text to call out particularly flagrant examples of the form. Like this doozy in Cook County, IL:

Image: mcmansionhell.com

All of the worst traits of McMansions are cataloged at this site, including their grotesque asymmetry, needlessly complicated rooflines, overabundance of windows, and just general disregard for all the tenets of traditional architecture. In a tastefully designed home, all the elements should be working together in harmony. In a typical McMansion, the elements are all in conflict, competing with each other for the spectator’s attention. If a McMansion could talk, it would say, “Hey, plebes! Look at me! I’m so rich and classy!”

For those who just want to point and laugh at the predictably bad taste of the nouveau riche, McMansion Hell has plenty of eye-popping photos, capturing the ugliness of both the interiors and exteriors of various overstuffed homes. But the site wants visitors to truly understand what makes McMansions so terrible. For those who didn’t study architecture, there’s even an explanatory article called “McMansions 101: What Makes A McMansion Bad Architecture?” Here, readers will learn about the basic principles of architecture that McMansions routinely ignore. It doesn’t seem likely that McMansion Hell will make these kinds of houses disappear from the landscape. Not as long as there are orthodontists and hedge-fund managers with money to burn. But at least, the rest of society can have a good laugh at the expense of these scenery-clogging eyesores.

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