#76 – McMansions

2 02 2010

Bogan visionary John Landy was one of the first to tap into its brain stem and recognise the bogan’s need for sheer size. When he had the Big Banana built next to his fruit stall 1964, bogans gravitated to it like single mothers to a stockbrokers’ Christmas party. Soon, it wasn’t enough for the bogan to just visit big things, it wanted to live in one.

A couple of decades ago, the McMansion arrived, an answer to bogan prayers. It wasn’t better than the houses that came before it, but good heavens it was bigger. The average size of new homes in Australia has gone on to grow by 40.3% between 1985 and 2003, as the bogan became aware that it “deserved” a formal living area, a rumpus room, a parents’ retreat, an ensuite, a study, a formal lounge, and a large void near the stairs that allowed it to view different parts of its McMansion without moving its feet. A home that, at first glance, looked reminiscent of a celebrity home.

Of course, the ballooning size of the bogan’s domestic ambitions meant that such dwellings could not really be situated on small blocks. Unwilling to make any compromises in this respect, the avalanche of poorly serviced cut-price housing estates continued across the outskirts of cities nationwide. These estate names uniformly contain misleading words such as springs, meadows, gardens, and park. Bogan families in these estates become entirely reliant on cars for transport, and bleat angrily when the petrol price is not to their liking. They do not pause to consider that the price is high partly because bogan families are using so much of it due to their housing decisions.

Pesky laws about how close a dwelling can be to the edge of the block of land threatened to derail the bogan’s desire for crassly immense housing size. This was solved by constructing a neo-Georgian cube with no eaves, allowing the house to loom over the fence. The bogan’s noble battle against the extremes of the Australian climate is then won by the constant use of heaters and air conditioners to overcome the atrocious inefficiency of the architecture. Upon receipt of its massive energy bill, the bogan will complain that the power companies are ripping it off.

In order to put a 43 square house within reach of the financially impulsive bogan, builders take phenomenal amounts of shortcuts on the shoddily fitted out McMansion. Once the flashy silver oven breaks, and the paper thin feature wall cracks, it becomes clear that the housing estate is 10 years away from being a generic and unserviced bogan ghetto. It’s the great Australian dream come true.