Article in local paper
features a museum exhibit on Mid-century Modern in Spokane. They detail one house that supposedly represents subtle functionality.
“In a way, it’s sort of Zen-like, with no unnecessary movements, no unnecessary notes if it were music – only what’s necessary to accomplish the program, whatever that happens to be. There’s a very simple beauty in that.”
Well, let's look at the featured house, 723 W. Sumner. It's in one of the best neighborhoods, and the landscaping is unquestionably beautiful. Google gets a nice view of the featured house (left) with its older "non-Zen-like" neighbor.
Which is more functional? Old non-Zen-like. It has a sloped roof
and wide overhangs on all sides.
Snow and rain can flow naturally off the roof; sun reaches the windows more in winter but less in summer; the foundation is protected from water (and thus somewhat protected from termites.)
The Zen-like modern house has a flat roof and no overhangs at all. It is highly vulnerable to snowload and leaks, it has no shelter from the sun, and its walls and foundation have no protection from water. That's not functional, it's just dumb.
Most of the dull ticky-tacky '50s houses in Spokane are more practical (i.e. less Zen-like) than this highly architected raw rectangle, which is why they have held up
with very little maintenance. (Sidenote: The Google Street front view of the raw Zen-like rectangle was blocked by a maintenance truck parked in the driveway!... which is why I had to slide over to this side view. Probably unfair to draw conclusions from a single-day sample, but nevertheless it was there.)