Just what exactly defines an American house? Is it the warm shingle style of New England’s coast or the stately federal buildings of its cities? Tudor rowhouses or Prairie School dwellings of the Midwest? In the 21st century, it turns out, it just may be a bit of all of that. In The American House,(Images Publishing, $65) out today, editor Hannah Jenkins endeavors to explore the breadth of the country’s recent architecture, curating 100 homes by over 50 architects, including Robert A.M. Stern and Olson Kindig. The results are as varied as their inhabitants, a phenomenon that—according to critic Ian Volner, who penned the book’s introduction—is new to the 21st century.
“That the house should be the vehicle of such diversity in the United States is surprising only to the extent that, until fairly lately, uniformity was the order of the day in domestic residential construction,” Volner writes, citing the aesthetic trends that ruled various decades. “Even into the present century, single-family residential development has largely been the province of the exurban real-estate developers and their oversized McMansions, hypertrophied versions of the Cold War ramblers that preceded them. But within this sea of sameness, there have arisen a few islands of originality and slowly they have now grown into a vast archipelago.”
These homes, as Volner points out, often incorporate references to many of the styles that came before them, making diversity out of sameness. Click through for a preview of some of the featured houses.