Of the hundreds of house plans offered by the William A. Radford Company of Chicago, their design number 1517 appears to have been one of their most popular - at least in the nation's mid-section. Numerous examples of this house survive today. The design was so...read more
There is no doubt that television has had a huge impact on shaping consumer activity; it is a primary function of the medium. Like virtually everything, television can be used for good or bad. TV's power to shape our culture could have been harnessed to inspire...read more
A work still in progress, this two-room house wasn't much to look at a year and a half ago. The simple frame structure, built in the 1920's, originally served to house seasonal workers on a farm where it was referred to as the "bunkhouse". It had suffered from...read more
How is it possible that a house could be lived in for well over a century without ever getting a real bathroom?! That is just one example of how intact and relatively unaltered this amazing house is! On Wednesday I was surprised to learn that a house in Russell,...read more
I recently ran across this house on Zillow. It looks a lot like a kit house sold by Sears called the Osborn. The house was offered from 1916 to 1929 and seems to have been a popular model for them. I'm not sure if the house below is an Osborn, but if not it was...read more
Often the most dominant interior feature of Craftsman-style bungalows, the colonnade has lately been enjoying something of a revival - even showing up in new construction. Long before the term "open concept" forced its way into the world's homes via television,...read more
There are replacement window installations and then there are really strange replacement window installations. The center house of three contiguous row houses has had some rather uncommon surgery on its two primary windows in order to accommodate the installation of...read more
Americans have long been noted for their eagerness to embrace whatever is new - even when it's a revival of something old! This has been especially true of architectural styles. In the 18th century we were embracing Classical details in new construction; the 19th...read more
While not exactly a house, this 1970's domed structure could easily be one. It certainly has potential! This popped up today on Zillow and got my immediate attention. I became intrigued as I looked at the images - all are from zillow.com: ...read more
It's been over a year since I first posted about vinyl siding, so I thought it was high time to take a look at some more houses which are shrouded in it. Vinyl is often used to conceal the scars that result when window openings are unfortunately reduced or porches...read more
The Architectural Observer rarely looks at “important” buildings; the focus is upon overlooked ones. Some will be antique survivors which have come through time surprisingly intact. Many will be old buildings which have been altered without regard to their stylistic integrity while others will be new construction which never had any stylistic integrity to begin with.
The decline of architectural integrity is just one more facet of the prolific and ongoing devolution of our culture. The Architectural Observer calls it like it is! Are there more important and pressing issues facing us now? Yes, but everyone needs a distraction from those other issues once in a while. And besides, this is relevant and much more fun!
There are three kinds of distractions here:
OBSERVATIONS highlights the lowlights of our built environment – and observes occasional architectural details which might otherwise be overlooked.
PLAN BOOK AND KIT HOUSES examines structures built from mail order plans or actual kits.
DRAG QUEEN ARCHITECTURE showcases buildings built in one style but which are trying to pass themselves off as a different style.
Let’s face it; we built better buildings in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries than we do now. Let’s take a cue from the past and start to remember how buildings are supposed to look and function. Thanks for joining me – please use the contact form for polite inquiry or to gripe at me.