The FreeGreen house design competition voting period has ended. And even though my project wasn’t one of the official finalists, I did still manage to collect 32 votes (which would have put me in the middle third of the finalists). Thanks once again to everyone who voted for my entry. I would have liked to have more comments and feedback, but I’m glad a few people bothered to look.

Since the entry wasn’t on the main page, there were far fewer views than any of the official finalists had. Italia9 got 32 votes in 315 views. The apparent winner in the Traditional category got 367 votes in 3006 views. That’s a similar ratio of votes to views. But there were others that had 400-700 views that only got 10-20 votes (and one only got 3).

It looks to me like the designs that got the most votes tended to be the ones with very realistic renderings and had realistic figures in them. Maybe that’s what’s appealing in a voting context, since it looks most ‘real.’ But would that really be what people would gravitate towards if they wanted to find a plan not just to vote for, but that they would actually buy and use to build a home for themselves? Or would that sense of it being too finished, and not able to be adapted and adjusted for their needs, turn them off from it?

I’ve always thought that architectural designs should be sketchier, and less hyper-realistic, because reality never matches the glossy CGI. It’s better to trigger the imagination than to try to make a representation of something that won’t really turn out the way it is shown. But then, I think plan houses are about selling a product, rather than engaging the imagination and participation of the buyer, so maybe that’s the right approach for them.


The voting has finally gotten underway at FreeGreen for the Who’s Next 2.0 contest. While the p s proefrock architecture entry doesn’t seem to be showing up on the finalist page. However, if you go to it with the direct link, it does look like you can still vote for it. Even better, when I looked at the standings this morning, I had more votes than 7 of the 12 Traditional category finalists. The voting period is supposed to run through the 29th of January, so, as long as it looks like it could be beneficial, I will continue to encourage people to vote.

I have my own ideas about why the Italia9 entry isn’t among the finalists. I had reservations about it even when I submitted it, but I didn’t want to slag my own work from the outset. I can be extremely self-critical, and while it can be useful to be able to identify one’s weaknesses, it can also be counterproductive if it’s done too publicly. I’m happy to discuss other people’s criticisms, and I encourage comments (either here or on the contest page), but I’ll withhold discussion of my own criticism until after the whole thing is over.

Free Green – the organization holding the Who’s next competition that my Italia9 house was designed for – is planning to have all of the 386 entries they received available for public viewing. As soon as there’s a link for it, I’ll post it, as well as a link to my project.

Their internal judging to select the 50 finalists is supposed to be complete on the 15th. Public voting among those will begin on January 16, 2011.

I got some feedback from friends this week who love the plan, but they weren’t so sure about the name. In other circumstances, I probably wouldn’t have used a name like that, but I wanted something that would be catchy and different for the public voting portion (assuming I make it to that level).

I also purposely made this less elaborate in a few ways (such as not including a projecting vestibule, although that would certainly be a useful thing to have) in order to keep this design affordably buildable. Cost effectiveness is one of the criteria in the competition, and I wanted to keep things simple for that reason. But it would not be difficult to have an alternate where a projecting vestibule provided a nicer entry. I also considered a variant with the great room on the upper level, under the cupola, and the master bedroom on the lower level. It’s an unconventional configuration, but there would be some interesting possibilities available in a version like that, too.