Monday, May 9, 2011
Architectural Historians, always a fun group of folk, came up with the term “Bungaloid” to refer to what I suppose everyone else would call “bungalow-like” structures, being those residential designs that share some of the common “bungalow” elements, but don’t otherwise quite fit the mold. When I was at the UofO I played on an inter-mural volleyball team called the “Bungaloids,” but that’s a different story.
I am often asked to lecture on architectural styles (and did so this weekend, which is what has me thinking along these lines). Let's be honest. Things termed “bungalow” are something of a polyglot, complicated by the fact (and there is just no other way to put it) that the word itself is just so melodic that it's almost fun to say it. Bungalow-Bungalow-Bungalow. It sounds like a chant. I mean really, stylistic attributes and philosophical under-pinnings aside, wouldn’t you rather tell people at a party that you live in a “bungalow” than in a Colonial Revival or American Foursquare? It just sounds prettier and more tasteful.
Which is, of course, what led to the problem of trying to explain just what IS a bungalow, and what is just Bungalow-wannabe? When we get to the point that particular styles are advertised as “Italianate Bunaglows” or “Colonial Bungalows” I think we have wandered pretty far from the plains of India or whatever visions of small-scale, naturalistic, living Charles and Henry Greene, Gustav Stickley, or Edward Bok had in mind. Not that what any of those guys had in mind was necessarily a “real” bungalow to begin with.
Still, everyone today (thanks a bunch This Old House) wants to believe that they live in a Bungalow (or even better, a CRAFTSMAN bungalow) and so the term gets further muddied. But it is a great term. What do you think are "must have" Bungalow elements? Is the image above, from a catalog published in 1923 (okay, a little late for a TRUE believer bungalow), really a Bungalow at all?