Category Archives: McMansions

McMansions multiply in Paradise Valley

[Source: Eric Wills, Preservation Magazine] — For more than 50 years Helen Harold has lived in Paradise Valley, Ariz., in a concrete-block house designed by Blaine Drake, an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. So it’s no surprise that she has strong opinions about how development is threatening the character and modernist architecture of her town. “The feel of openness and open vistas is vanishing,” Harold says. “People’s views from their homes are being destroyed.”

Paradise Valley, about 15 miles from downtown Phoenix, is known for its low-density one-acre lots and views of Camelback (pictured) and Mummy mountains—assets threatened by the proliferation of McMansions, according to Harold and other residents. Houses used to be built so the desert dominated, Harold is fond of saying, and now the houses are dominating the desert. Harold, 83, is a member of the ­Citizens Forum, a nonprofit group in Paradise Valley that recently sent out a survey to residents, asking their opinions about construction. Responses included, “Who needs 49,000-square-foot homes” and “STOP all this ridiculous building!! You’ve destroyed enough of this town.” The way to rein in the construction, says Harold, “is to elect a town council that will be responsible for preserving the desert feel of the community.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]