acura strikes back at lexus - proves acura doesn't get it

Acura is running a commercial about overindulgence at the holidays which appears to aimed at the Lexus campaign featuring modern houses and cars as gifts. Only they don't have any objection to cars as gifts of course, they just want to try to make modern architecture look silly.

Nice try, but it backfires. The fool in the Acura commercial may be a fan of fancy gingerbread, but he's holed up for the holidays in a traditional house proving once again that in advertising only the cool people live in the modern houses.

lexus holiday campaign casts the modern house

Every year Lexus makes a holiday pitch to give its vehicles as Christmas gifts. As improbable as that seems for most of us, never the less they have something to say about who might be able to so casually gift an expensive automobile.

And surprise - our generous gift giver is a family with a modern house. And why not. Lexus wants us to envy these folks, they want us to want to be like them - buying a new Lexus by Christmas time. And who do they think will make us feel that way? The guy with the modern house, of course. They know the modern house will make their product look more desirable. Yet the US housing industry doesn't get this, do they? What's with that?

lexus uk also has the modern house as its ideal

In this Lexus UK as from 2007 once again the driver takes their car home to a severely modern house.

The UK is similar enough to the US to make our case. When Lexus wants to make their vehicle enviable, they show it parked in front of a modern home.

tron legacy movie leverages modern house


It appears from trailers released in Europe that the upcoming Tron Legacy movie will use a modern house for the home of its protagonists, the Flynns. I'm not sure if the home was ever shown in the original Tron movie, I think not, which means that this is a current appropriation. No doubt the movie makers turn to the modern house to imbue their heroes with the sense of cool the audience will admire. Of course we all understand the cool guy lives in the modern house. America's home builders, do they get it? Hmmmm.. not so much.

in the city of townville


The PowerPuff Girls are so rocking a Modern House!

surrogates movie has no substitute for the modern house

I just got around to watching last summers science fiction movie Surrogates. Its set in a near future where everything looks familiar, buildings, cars, yet the technology is clearly miles ahead of today. People stay home and go out in to the world via a robotic "surrogate" that they control from a virtual reality chair in their home. So while we get old and fat our robots remain vital and young. Whether or not that sounds good or bad to you, one thing that seems sure is that everybody in this near future lives in a cool modern home. Spoilers below if you have not watched the movie.
surrogates 1
This is the apartment of a minor character in the movie. Quite unexpected when they enter from the hallway to reveal this soaring two story modern dwelling.
surrogates 2
And here is the apartment of one of the main characters. I loved the look and feel of this place. Concrete waffle slab ceilings, and brick walls in the living room.
surrogates 3
And later on a brief scene showed an exterior view of the home of one of the other main characters. A night scene but clearly a modern house.
In many scenes of this movie they went to great lengths to show us that cities and buildings were still the same familiar places. Yet the protagonists all had modern dwellings, and strangely enough the antagonist as it turns out lived in a traditional dwelling. Interesting. Clearly deliberate. The modern settings were used here to distinguish the roles of these characters just like bad cowboys had black hats and good cowboys had white hats. So you have to wonder why the good guys got the modern dwellings? Obviously the film makers know which kind of house will make the protagonist appear cool, progressive, informed, admirable. And they count on us understanding that as well. Since we all have this figured out so well, then when is the housing industry going to get the message. HELLO!!

mcdonalds sips the modern coolade

Yep, you read that right. McDonalds. As in hamburgers in a cardboard box McDonalds. They are embarking on a program to literally modernize their image with a new corporate design aesthetic that is unabashedly modern.

So when McDonalds decides to reinvent themselves they don't turn to Colonial architecture, its not pseudo Tuscan, or euro Tudor. Its Modern. Modern Modern Modern. Because McDonalds knows that this will elevate the perception of their product and in return the entire brand. Yet home builders across the USA are prepping next years collection of Toomanypeaks, and Phoneyshmoney styles served up McMansion style. Come on home builders - time to get a clue!

Learn more about the McDonalds redesign in this article at FastCompany.

in The Lake House movie, even the old house is the modern house

This movie was called to our attention by reader Larry. He pointed out that the house featured in this movie, while not meant to be a new house was certainly modern. Not having seen the movie I was quite surprised by the house.

Lake House movie screen cap

The house is at once old, and thoroughly modern. It appears to be an iron age structure - evoking some of the earliest iron framed structures from the industrial revolution such as the Crystal Palace in London. Yet, for a house it is a glass walled box, with an open floor plan, the perfect Meisian home as glass box - the international style from the late 40s.

Lake House movie screen cap

Such a house would never had been made in the era it was presuming to be from, so we have to wonder why the film makers would put together such a hybrid structure to be the setting for this story? The fact that the house was old played a part in the narrative of the story. The one character an architect somehow acquired the home, or rented it from an older architect. But any old house would do for that. Why this strange hybrid. The house was meant to be the place of this temporal anomaly whereby the characters communicate across several years. In much the same way the house is an artifact at once in the industrial revolution era, and the idealized international style.

Lake House movie screen cap

If it was just an old home, it would not have been a significant part of the story. But here the modern home speaks to the concept of the story, even if it is only a ghost of a modern home possessing a structure from an earlier era. Once again popular media leverages the modern home to signify the specialness of a place. They count on us understanding that distinction, as we all seem to do. We all know the modern house is unique, special, desirable. Yet the home building industry continues to ignore it. Isn't it time they woke up?

land rover comes home to the modern house

In a TV commercial for the Land Rover Discovery we see a wide range of settings, all with traditional architecture, that is until the driver comes home. And they come home to none other than the Modern House.


Of all the places the driver encounters none but the home are modern - including an Art Museum. Even an Art Museum is a perfect candidate for modern architecture. But why not? Well, its simple. The driver does not own the Art Museum. The driver owns the house.

If you want the house to cast good vibes on your product, to make your product look desirable, to look like a possession of somebody who knows "the good stuff" to own, then of course you want to show your car owner pulling up to a modern house. You want viewers to desire your product, then you show them as the choice of people with good taste, people you want to be like. The thing that everybody seems to know is that we want to be like the guy with the modern house. Almost everybody knows that. Everybody but the housing industry in the US it seems.

Much thanks to Preston at Jeston Green for this one!

lexus says the modern house is natural

In this new tv spot for the Lexus RX suv the modern house makes an appearance.


The incredbile thing is the theme of this new ad is "Act Naturally". Through a number of examples Lexus shows us how the operation of the technology in the RX is familiar, the same as using the mouse for your computer, pushing the button for the elevator, and even turning on the lights in your house. Yet the "Natural" example for a house is this very nice looking Modern House.

Amazing. So why the Modern House? Why not a traditional house, as we are sure that most Lexus buyers have? Its simple really. Its because Lexus knows as well as we do that the Modern House makes their product look better. It makes its technology seem more advanced, it makes its style seem better designed, it makes their product more desirable. Yet home builders in America have not caught on that the Modern House will do the same for their product. How come they don't seem to understand what the rest of us seem to know for sure?

caprica new tv series lives in the modern house

A new series on the Syfy channel, Caprica, is set on a fictional world that appears very similar to our own. Perhaps a near future version of real life, the setting shows a city with buildings of all ages, new and old. One of the characteristics of this fictional world is that the setting is largely multi-theistic culture such as ancient Rome or Greece. As a result there the scenery often shows classical sculpture of gods and monumental buildings. Despite that one of the series main characters lives in an overtly modern house that has none of these classical references.


In the program this character is a the head of a large technology company, a successful tech company, hence the large home, the beautiful waterfront site, all the trappings of success. Yet the home is modern, not classical in a culture based on classical beliefs.


This is not really a big surprise. The home is highly technologically enabled. It contains a high tech lab for the owner's work, the enormous glass wall facing the water doubles as an enormous digital display, and the house is tended by an automated butler. But these things could all be incorporated into a classical house. Here the modern house is used to reinforce the character's role in technological change. The modern house frames the way we see him, and embodies a forward looking stance.


No indication if its a real house or a set. If anyone recognizes this we would love to hear about it.

Caprica at Syfy

Addendum: A little more Google research located this account of by someone who had visited the sets - apparently the Pilot for this show used a real house, and now the series is filming in a recreation of that house as a set. A quote from that link:
While not Galactica’s CIC, the Graystone mansion is magnificent. Pictures of it can be seen on various science fiction news websites, from Syfy’s Digital Press Tour last year. It is a recreation of the original house that was used in the pilot, and is indistinguishable from it; a testament to the construction and set decoration team on Caprica. The thing has two levels to it (upstairs and downstairs) and you could literally live there, with the minor exception that the “basement”—where Daniel’s lab-office can be found—isn’t really down below the main level at all. Furthermore, I’m not sure where the bathroom is, but I know what’s in their walk-in closets! The view of the water and mountain range from the massive living room windows is tremendous… and a fake backdrop that is, itself, completely impressive in its detail.
So for reference, the first picture above is from the Pilot and although this seems to have CGI additions it may be an alteration of a photo of a house in Vancouver. The second image is from the Pilot which means its the real house, and the third is from the series which means its on the set. The curtains seem to be a new addition to the space that we don't see in the second image.
I also found some photos of the set on this site where you can see clearly that the scenery outside the windows is painted. So where is this house, and who designed it? Arthur Erickson? YES! I believe I've found the actual house, and it appears that yes it was used for the inside, and the landscape around the house looks similar but the exterior appears to be something created for the show.