Argument: You can’t hide the size of McMansions, regardless of the design
A local debate over McMansions draws this claim about whether the size of the homes can be overlooked:
However, I do feel that we need to bring the elephant in the room out into the open so everyone can appreciate it properly. If you strip away all of the polite planning jargon about massing, square footage, curb cuts, along with most everything else gets said in those circles, and then boil it all down to its core essence, the view becomes much clearer. What we are talking about here are some very large and quite ostentatiously designed houses.
I call it Adele Chang’s Dilemma. How do you build McMansions that don’t look like McMansions? You can’t. No matter what the design style, or where you place the garage, or how you reconfigure the roof, or bedeck the place with curlicues and cornices, or shuffle the massing, or even bring in a small gaggle of winged gargoyles and lawn gnomes, the result is still going to be one heck of a big barn.
In other words, some will argue that McMansions are just too big, even if are designed well or maybe even fit local architectural traditions. Underneath those design elements will always be too many square feet. And why is this square footage so important?
We are talking about a clash between two differing cultures here. On the one hand you have the traditional version of Sierra Madre. A place where people are comfortable with what they have and don’t view house size as a measure of their personal or spiritual worth.
The culture Adele Chang and her CETT bosses cater to, on the other hand, is a nouveau riche arriviste’ sort crowd who somehow believe that building a vanity castle on the side of an open hillside will be recognized by all of those living below as a sign of an innate personal superiority. It is a form of unchecked clodhopper consumerism that most people living here today do not respect or care to live beside.
The size matters because it (1) suggests something vain about the owner and (2) is resented by others because it is a blatant status symbol. A big new home in a community that does not want it is tied to an owner who is seen as a jerk.
Do you know anyone in San Francisco? (Mod: This from the L.A. Times - link)
6.0 quake jolts Bay Area; outages, injuries reported - A long rolling temblor pegged at 6.0 by the U.S. Geological Survey shook a wide swath of the Bay Area awake early Sunday.
Centered about nine miles south of wine country's Napa at 3:20 a.m., the quake was felt as far south as Santa Cruz and into Sonoma County. It was the largest earthquake to strike the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta temblor of 1989, the USGS said.
Residents reported power outages in Napa, and fire departments in several counties, along with the California Highway Patrol, were on the lookout for damage to bridges.
Reports were beginning to stream in of gas leaks, downed power lines and at least one fire.
California is rising - Literally (Gizmodo link)
California's Drought Is So Bad, Its Mountains Rose Half An Inch - Water is heavy — ask anyone who screwed up the Ice Bucket Challenge. And California and the rest of the West Coast have precious little of it. The water is so depleted, it’s not weighing down the earth’s surface — and geologists have measured a rise of up to 15 millimeters at GPS stations across the West.
Poring over data from the GPS stations that monitor earthquake activity throughout California, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego found that the land across the west has experienced an average “uplift” of four millimeters, or 0.15 inches, in the past eighteen months. Stations located in California’s mountains show the greatest uplift, topping out at 15 millimeters or just over half an inch.
You and I might think of the ground beneath our feet as rigid and non-pliable, but that’s not really the case. “Think of the Earth as a big rubber ball,” Scripps geophysics professor Duncan Agnew explained to Popular Science. “It’s made of material that is elastic, and if you push on it, it goes in a little bit. If that push is taken away, by water evaporating, there’s less weight on that part of the earth, and it goes up.”