Jackalope: The mythical result of breeding a jackrabbit and antelope, first imagined by magicians of taxidermy in the 1930s. Jackalopes, usually staring balefully with glassy eyes from their wall mounts, can be found wherever people have a penchant for antler decor, humor, or both.
Architectural Jackalope: Mating two completely disparate designs to produce a stylistic miscreant. What happens when an extraordinary landmark home designed by a noted local architect gets an addition whose style has apparently been mandated by my town for all new construction and remodels. The style is that of the Transitional House, classified by its use of black-framed vertical windows staring balefully at the street, cheap white siding, and having no character or personality whatsoever. See my post on this architectural equivalent of dandelions.
It started with a stunning 60+-year-old residence designed by Harold Zook, whose whimsical, lyrical homes dot the western suburbs of Chicago. This home’s floor-to-ceiling living room window faced onto a sunny corner lot. It was not a large residence, but it survived for decades without significant remodels or being demolished. That, in and of itself, is nearly miraculous in my town. With huge houses being de rigeur on these mean streets, it is understandable the current owner may have wanted to keep up with the Whoevers, or merely needed more space. But tearing down most of the existing Zook structure and grafting Transitional Architecture to the remnant? May as well mate a bull dog with a shih tzu, resulting in a …
… Which is a heck of a lot cuter than the mismating of a one-of-a-kind house with a trendy, ubiquitous, and ultimately ugly addition. Some houses just shouldn’t breed.