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Since its launch in July 2016, Kate Wagner’s viral blog McMansion Hell has become an internet sensation, featured in a wide range of publications, including the Huffington Post, Slate, Washington Post, and Paper Magazine. The site uses cutting humor and actual real estate listings to roast “the world’s ugliest houses” from top to bottom, all while teaching subscribers about principles of architecture and design. But what exactly is a McMansion? Is it a specific type of architecture or a cultural idea? How did these oversized and poorly crafted dwellings evolve? Why do they remain so popular, and what are the aesthetic, economic, social, and environmental implications of that popularity?
Outside of McMansion Hell, Wagner (MA Audio Science, Johns Hopkins University) specializes in architectural acoustics and its intersections with urbanism and Late Modern architecture. She has written for Curbed, Architectural Digest, The Atlantic, The Baffler, and more. Join us as Wagner examines the architectural and pop cultural roots of this pervasive feature in the American suburban landscape.