February 16,2023

What Defines a House?

Let me begin by quoting Oswald Spengler, a late 19th and early 20th-century German historian and philosopher who made this observation about what defines a house. “The house is the foundation of all culture emerging like a plant in the heart of the maternal landscape and deepening again the bond of man's soul to the earth.” If we are to agree with Spengler, then we may also conclude that designing and constructing a home is essentially an organic process, one that engages the occupants most profoundly.

That was my approach and design philosophy for the InSync Showhouse. I recognized early that a great building is nothing more than reconditioned earth put in the hands of skillful artisans who then shape and mold it into 3-dimensional art. This art is not to be viewed and appreciated only at a distance, but we humans, whose scale must be used to properly mass and proportion classical and traditional homes, should be able to coexist and live within such beautiful 3-dimensional art.

I do not believe that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", but rather beauty is in the proportions. Beauty is not a thing, it's a joyous state of mind…. we experience beauty. When the person is taken out of time, what remains is beauty. This home is a demonstration of this belief, philosophy, and approach.

In contrast, today, we lament the horrible mutation of the modern home that is forced upon the masses. We must ask: Why is it that we admire one kind of place but consistently design and build something different? Every day we encounter grossly exaggerated, improperly proportioned homes that are unnecessarily complex. Houses that are difficult to identify with any sort of recognizable home style.

The InSync Showhome is an example of respecting classical and traditional historical tendencies (in this case, early 20th-century interpretation of the Spanish home, Spanish Eclectic) while at the same time blending smoothly with modern technology. It is not a new concept. Imagine the delight brought upon the patron, alongside his master builder and designer when first experiencing the advent of indoor plumbing, electrified lamps, telephonic communication, and conditioned air.

The InSync Showhome follows this fine tradition. Were there challenges? Yes! Were the solutions and results fully optimized? No! Our houses continue to be a laboratory for the progression of our comforts at home. The InSync Showhome is just that, a progression.

Let us all together move forward in the syncing of home and technology and never forget the insightful words of Geoffrey Scott, an early 20th-century classical architect who stated, “Architecture, in short, will be beautiful in which the construction is best, and in which it is most truthfully displayed.” Thank you.