Daily Archives: June 7, 2009

When is an over-sized white elephant not a McMansion? When it’s designed to the exquisite taste of Robert Stern

Over there in Westchester the Bronx (who moved Riverdale?) where the expression “building border to border” was first refined, the architectural world’s largest ego is busy cramming houses into a new “community”. Robert A.M. Stern has completed the first two of a possible 15 (there’s always the hope that bankruptcy will save Riverdale) 12,000 sq. foot hunks of timber and stone and declared them “New Urbanism”. Others call them dreck but Stern is quick to point out the difference: him.

When asked to explain the difference between the houses of Villanova Heights and so-called McMansions, Mr. Stern said: “This is not a house for the Sopranos. These houses have fine detailing; they are based on creative interpretation of traditional designs.”

That settles that. Tony S. wouldn’t appreciate the fine nuances at play here.

[Stern]  said that Villanova Heights was the kind of development that New Urbanists “would like to see happen around the country, where you have a relatively small property and the houses have a strong relationship to street, with clearly identified front doors.”

I know nothing about “New Urbanism” but it sounds like a school of thought peopled by liberals, in which case, the Stern development may indeed be exactly the type of village the practitioners themselves would like to live in, but the rest of us, the “Little Folk” will have to make do with more modest bungalows. I don’t think Riverdale can accommodate all of us if we choose houses this size. There’s always New Rochelle, I suppose.

Next up: Stern teams with The Donald to create “Tent City”.


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If he stays there, he’ll help all of us

Al Gore may go to North Korea to help reporters.

Isn’t that Jesse jackson’s job?

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