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Architecture student insightfully reveals why 'bland housing structures' are on the rise in America

Brittany Been impressively explained why the country has opted out of brownstones and traditionally spacious living spaces.

Architecture student insightfully reveals why 'bland housing structures' are on the rise in America
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @brittanybeen

Antique and vintage buildings and structures are celebrated and looked up to for a reason. Their sturdiness and striking beauty have drawn the attention of people. However, given today’s economy and housing problems, buildings have changed to become bland and monotonous. Cities have lost their authentic blend of culture and craftsmanship and there are several reasons why it is happening. A grad student and architecture enthusiast, Brittany Been (@brittanybeen), revealed several reasons these bleak and tasteless structures are on the rise and people across cities can totally relate. 

Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen
Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen

She stitched to a video where a woman explains how every other apartment in America has the most common structure. “There’s a reason why we unfortunately won’t see DC style or brownstones ever again,” she said. The student then explained that the recently developed structures that are every builder’s favorites are known as 5 over 1 buildings. “They’re cheap to make, it’s 5 floors of wood over one floor of concrete,” she highlighted. While Been explained that these structures fit well to blend housing with commercial areas for efficient living, the design and outlay always end up being boring and staple.

Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen
Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen

“In 2010, the building code was changed so that one could put 100 units in a more densely packed space,” the student explained. She further added that for builders, this design is the most productive and effortless, but residents are not necessarily fans of the same. “The reason being, these are so architecturally bland, you can’t even tell which city you’re in based on the buildings,” she highlighted. She pointed out that because these structures are replicated in every city, concepts like “site context, location, site history,” are left out of consideration. “It’s cheap to copy-paste in every city and the same corporations own it,” she added.

Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen
Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen

Been shared a structure popular in Seattle in her video, which isn’t favored by citizens. She was referring to a more compact and colorful structure and said that these are often associated with justification and with places that are still developing. “Anytime we look at these, we think of some big corporations owning the building and high rent for something that’s not worth it,” the student remarked. She further elaborated on the reason why cheap buildings are the priority over aesthetic ones. While she highlighted one reason for increasing rates of housing and lack of space, she also pointed out that traditional and authentic brownstones take time to make, ruling out the possibility of making houses quickly.

Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen
Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen

“Buildings of the past have these facades and detailing that are not feasible in today’s economy and no one wants to make them,” Brittany added. She lastly mentioned that even though there may be ways to reverse the bland options into better ones, it’s unlikely to work. “Because it’s working, we’re buying it and also, we have no choice,” she added. @kyleharringtonn said, “I always associate them with buildings around college campuses.” @hirroxmachina said, “I loathe how hollow the rooms are. I can’t even talk at a certain level without the entire complex hearing me.”

Image Source: TikTok| adept_empath
Image Source: TikTok| @adept_empath
Image Source: TikTok| @lorenapplegate
Image Source: TikTok| @lorenapplegate

You can follow Brittany Been (@brittanybeen) on TikTok for more design content. You can also follow her on Instagram and check her website for her work.

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