Unhappy Hipsters jumps the shark

By not reading their source material closely enough.

So, Unhappy Hipsters, usually a very amusing site usually devoted to mocking pretentious twits with too much money that’s not making them happy and very strange architectural taste as well, labels this photo:

The last vestige of a once-promising gentrification.

“The last vestige of a once-promising gentrification.” I think to myself, “Hm, there’s no unhappy hipster in this photo, perhaps I should click on the link for more information.” And here it is:

“Architects: buildingstudio; Location: New Orleans, LA, USA; Design Team: Coleman Coker, David Dieckhoff, Varuni Edussuriya, Tom Holloman, Jonathan Tate; Client: Neighborhood Housing Services; General Contractor: Evolution Builders; Project Area: 960 sq ft; Budget: US $116,000; Project Year: 2010; Photographs: Will Crocker & Undine Prohl

“This affordable home arose out of the post-Katrina re-housing effort in New Orleans for an inner city neighborhood in dour [sic] (they must mean dire, ED) need of new places to live. buildingstudio was working with an affluent client in Boulder, CO who voiced great concern for the lack of effort being made in New Orleans after the storm. As result we asked if they’d be willing to contribute toward an affordable home for a Katrina refugee. Not only did the clients generously give their own money, they invited their friends and colleagues to participate towards the cost of constructing an affordable home. The total sum contributed was $50,000.00. This generous contribution allows Neighborhood Housing Services, who promotes and markets low-cost properties in economically-strapped neighborhoods of New Orleans, to offer the house at a vastly reduced rate. buildingstudio, contributed its full design and coordination services as well.”
Alligator / buildingstudio, by Nico Saieth, Arch Daily, June 3, 2010

Up until now I’ve enjoyed reading Unhappy Hipsters, but I don’t think their blogging mission is to mock affordable and sustainable housing for anyone, especially those who’ve lost their homes due to some horrible event.

$116K might sound like a lot of money in some parts of the country, but I’m looking for a house in the less swanky, very less swanky, part the city of Los Angeles and 960 sq ft, 2 bd, 2 baths, start around $300K for a “fixer.” If I could get an Alligator house for half or two-thirds that price, I WOULD.

I read a few of the comments at Arch Daily, but thought this one worth blogging:

“I like this, but is this really what the people of New Orleans want? Is this truly their aspirational housing model?”

This person has obviously never been homeless and might not have much of a heart either. I don’t think the Alligator house was forced on anyone. Most people I know have aspirations in housing that are affordable and livable. The Alligator house meets both of those criteria. And, as a bonus, your friends will always be able to find your house.

Note: The Arch Daily article seems to contradict itself. In one paragraph they write “And while the best intentions went into these, they’re disappointingly constructed. This limits their lifespan and undermines the long-term viability of the neighborhood.” and then in the next one, “The home, meeting hurricane resistance requirements, has insulated windows with an efficient thermal envelope to lower utility bills. Exterior walls and roof are clad in factory-painted, preformed metal siding for ease of maintenance and long-term durability.” So, which is it? “Disappointingly constructed” or “long-term durability”?

Note2: I hate architecture, really I do. I just want something I can get a reverse mortgage on when I’m old and gray.

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2 Responses to Unhappy Hipsters jumps the shark

  1. Steve says:

    I disagree.

    First of all, the images used in Unhappy Hipsters are often taken completely out of context and captioned for humorous value, so I don’t think anyone is making fun of the sad situation in New Orleans.

    Second, the house is completely disjoint with its surroundings and, in fact, does seem as if it’s some bizarre attempt at gentrification. I think something more in keeping with the rich traditions of New Orleans might have been appropriate, rather than this bit of architectural absurdity, aspirational or not. This would appear to be the effort of a carpetbagging architectural firm to impose its will upon a locality of which it has no knowledge.

    The text your quote in your note would seem to underscore my comments.

  2. Well designed, if not to your taste, affordable housing sponsored by a local community non-profit (http://www.nhsnola.org/index2.htm) is carpetbagging? Steve, what planet are you on? Please stay there.

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