Wretched Excess Dept: A 50,000 SF House


Arnold Chase doesn't want any publicity about his new house in West Hartford, Connecticut, would not be interviewed and cited the photographer for trespassing. But he had to file public planning documents so everyone knows that his new house is larger than Bill Gates' and only 4,000 square feet smaller than the White House. It is a modest 17,000 square feet above grade, but what lies beneath is a two-level, 33,500-square-foot basement complex, complete with a 103-seat movie theater, ticket booth, concession stand, game room and music annex, that will make it New England's largest occupied single-family home. According to Gopal Ahluwalia of the National Home Builders Association: "It's the same thing as why people buy a $150,000 car when the same function can be performed by a $25,000 car," Ahluwalia said. "I can afford it. I can have it. I want to have the biggest house in the world. Things like that." ::AP/Yahoo

AP continues:

Some question the morality of building a private home that large.

"Do you actually need to have that amount of space to live a good life?" said Susan A. Eisenhandler, a sociology professor at the University of Connecticut. "There are homeless people. There are impoverished people. There are serious social concerns, and we're not addressing that."

Not to mention the carbon footprint of the thing.


Interestingly, it was designed by Allan Greenberg, who worked with the great modernists Jorn Utson and Viljo Revell, and authored a book called "Architecture of Democracy" where the intro says

" Centered on his intriguing synthesis of the American republic's architectural and democratic traditions, Allan Greenberg's essay moves across geography and through history as the renowned architect and scholar makes the case that America's architectural tradition and political ideals are deeply connected. At the core of the American democratic architectural tradition is the modest, single-family house, which gave rise to the statehouse, the courthouse, the firehouse, the schoolhouse, the jailhouse, and the President's house (as it was known before it became the White House)....The Architecture of Democracy traces a common line from the earliest colonial settlements to the Western frontier of the nineteenth century and today's ultramodern city centers. The volume will imbue in its readers a newfound appreciation for the democratic ideals that American architecture strives to express and uphold."