Jason Griffiths is an assistant professor of design at Arizona State, and apparently living in the middle of all that desert sprawl got to him after a while. In the early aughts he jumped into a car, drove all over the country, and made a discovery so banal it’s practically a tautology: Suburbia is the same everywhere.
Except, because he's a photographer and he's been steeped in design thinking and this is what artists do, Griffiths managed to turn his sojourn into a book called Manifest Destiny: A Guide to the Essential Indifference of American Suburban Housing. It's a collection of photos and artspeak word salad that might just make you think a little more deeply about the hypnotic sameness of the sprawltopia that most of us call home. From his essay on the project, at Design Observer:
"At this stage the building is in its most homogenous state, exposing a fundamental material ubiquity that subjects all its surfaces to an indiscriminately reductive treatment."
"In Iowa and much of the Midwest, houses have extensions called Bump Outs. […] Here, an interior fireplace is reduced to a small metal vent in the short space between the hearth and the exterior. Instead of forming a brick chimney stack, it is subsumed into the all-pervading language of UPVC siding and capped under a shallow pitch of asphalt roof shingles."
"A great deal of suburban architecture may be bought off the shelf in hardware superstores like Home Depot and Lowe's. […] The structures are carefully spaced to create an enhanced perspective of rural typologies and conventional pitched-roof forms, almost like an evolutionary tree."
Manifest Destiny: A Guide to the Essential Indifference of American Suburban Housing, Design Observer.
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