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McMansiontopia

What If McMansions Ruled the World?

In the new book Atlas of Another America, architect Keith Krumwiede mixes satire, sci-fi, and the sublime in his plans for utopian villages built out of suburban mega-homes.

CityLab, March 8, 2017

Whether on the gleefully snarky blog McMansion Hell or in haunting photos of cul-de-sacs abandoned during the recession, McMansions—those ersatz chateaux of modern suburbia—are frequent targets of urbanists’ ire, derided as symbols of the wastefulness and isolation of suburban sprawl.

But what if the McMansion could be put in the service of urbanism instead? In his new book Atlas of Another America: An Architectural Fiction (Park Books, $49), the architect Keith Krumwiede, who teaches at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, envisions an alternative reality in which McMansions are used as building blocks to create small communities not unlike medieval villages or 19th-century communes. These “estates,” aggregated from real house plans used by big homebuilders such as Toll Brothers and Pulte, are set in Krumwiede’s fictional domain of Freedomland.

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Image by Keith Krumwiede after Grigoriy Myasoyedov