Prentiss Riddle: Austin

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McMansion or not, mostly not

The Austin Chronicle is running a funny Am I McMansion or Not? contest in which readers can submit photos of houses and rate them, hot-or-not style, as to whether they are McMansions.

The surprising thing is that, while there are quite a few mansions in the contest, almost none of them live up to the "Mc" part. A McMansion isn't just a big house, it's a big, ugly, mass-produced house with a 2+ car garage on the front and bling by Wal-Mart -- the house you get when you holler "Supersize me!" at a tract builder's drive-thru window.

Many of the houses being rated at the Chron are old, unique, multi-family, and/or architect-designed. Some are beautiful. And a few look like the kind of dense yet well-designed infill house that Austin most needs right now, quite the opposite of a big-box big box. But the voters are giving better scores to the true McMansions than to most of the ones with nothing "Mc" about them.

McMansion, yes McMansion, no

The comments in the gallery are interesting if contentious. Some commenters claim that the worst houses wouldn't actually be blocked by Austin's proposed McMansion rules while some of the better ones would be.

austin 2006.03.15 link