Reincarnated McMansion

Reincarnated McMansion

Making 1 big house into 2 small ones:
This project seeks to “Audit, dismantle, and rebuild using existing McMansion materials to create 2 homes, applying best practice environmentally sustainable design principles.”

Ideas of smaller houses, higher density, infill and less suburban sprawl float around the urban planning discussion all the time.  It is surprising that communities still  freak out about it (note the current press about Greenbank and ULDA) .    What I had liked about this project is the idea of making it a doco/ TV series, which would help the public engagement of such issues. 

I was also inspired by the doco idea, as it relates to a project I’m working on, also aspiring to the same thing.  It remains a critical design question- how small can you really go?  I recognise not everyone will agree to smaller housing, and like most things, the city requires a balance, diversity, and choice.  

I think my parents suburban house is too big for them, but I don’t see them moving anytime soon.

The idea of splitting up unnecessarily big homes is not a new thing in my headspace.  My old boss had once said in fustration, about whether the rich in West End would split up their large homes instead of complaining about homelessness.  I thought it was a genius challenge (it’s a waste of time complaining, if you aren’t willing to also come with solutions).     Around that time, I had also thought of the internal division of houses when I blogged about foldable room dividers.   It came up again when a friend showed me his project that divided student housing rooms to allow privacy but also sharing of things communally though the shelf.  I had also noticed how, unlike here, it was often common to see Toronto homes cut up for rent.  It seems prefectly do-able if you can figure out separate entrance, and address privacy and services.          

I had started to imagine how to retrofit my parents suburban house since downstairs is open plan, and well actually in concept it’s actually a bit difficult.  Taking it a part and rebuilding might be easier as this Reincarnated McMansion project suggest.

I don’t claim to be an architect, and I’m not sure how it can be done – but a challenge I put out there to reconsider how we might retrofit existing buildings to increase dwelling units.


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