Saturday, February 18, 2017

Generica vs. Sense of Place

I was reading the paper today and my eye fell on this photo:

I assumed it was somewhere in suburban America. Where do you think it is?

Answer below.

It's in Penang, Malaysia. (That's the police headquarters connected with the murder of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's brother.)  

It made me want to apologize to the world for the invasion of this ugly American architecture and generic sense of place. This is in Malaysia, a tropical environment. I imagine they have monsoons. Yet they've planted turf grass and paved almost everything in sight. The loss of sense of place is so, so sad. I hope it's not representative of Malaysia, though I have no idea.

This photo was on my mind when I happened to listen to an episode of the podcast 99% Invisible this afternoon. Called McMansion Hell: The Devil Is in the Details, it featured Kate from McMansion Hell, a hilarious, pithy blog.

Among many great points about what's wrong with McMansions, Kate pointed out that they are generic and have nothing to do with the place they are in. And that is not the way humans do things.

 Read up on Kate's blog if you get a chance. And be on the lookout for the scourge of generica. It's everywhere.

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