Crying Wolf

I visited a house by a famous architect (he’s a friend, so let’s just call him The Architect). The house was beautiful, thoughtfully designed and exquisitely executed. Very low key, suiting its rural site. Minimalist, in a luxurious sort of way. And big. The occupants were a retired couple, with grown-up children long since moved away, but their home was the size of a small primary school. The main corridor was a hundred and fifty feet long, and the house didn’t end here, there were still garages and outbuildings.

There have been wonderful houses in the past, even the recent past, but most of the ones I see today feel over-done. Too much money thrown at too simple a problem. I can still get weak-kneed over the Maison de Verre, Fallingwater, or a Palladio villa, but most modern houses feel like a Wolf cooking stove; impressive, perfectly detailed, obviously expensive, but it’s still just a stove.

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