This piece in Salon attempts to figure out why all homes today look rather similar which, obviously, is a complex question that cannot even begin to be touched on in one article. This trend runs totally contrary to the idea of International Style, which defies style/national/regional/continental identity. The article’s timing parallels that of another, this time in The Wall Street Journal, which covers the efforts by some architects trying to bring back regionalism.
The interconnectivity that the internet provides has certainly been written about ad naseum, but its physical reverberations has only just begun to creep into mainstream consciousness. The blog The Kinspiracy as well as the work of Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom chronicle what happens when we all have access to the same images. At first glance, interconnectivity is informing our aesthetic ideas en masse. Various decorating movements in the past (say Art Nouveau) came about as a reaction to what was going on culturally and only became an identifiable movement through the wide adoption of the aesthetic and philosophy. What digital platforms like Instagram or Tumblr present is much farther reaching echo chamber for trends as well as the newfound ability to analyze them with hard data. But perhaps what these platforms also provide is a mirror for us to see how our tastes are not in fact all that unique while forcing us to consider why everything looks similar. And it is within this similitude that concern about loss of culture (in this case regional architecture) in the pursuit of a common housing aesthetic comes into play. If technical advances in architecture don’t necessarily require a certain building material for a certain region’s climate anymore, cue the rise in power of the homeowner’s association/preservation committee.