The True Measure of Good Design

I listened with interest and a level of cynicism to an NPR interview of a bunch of high school kids touring the solar decathalon houses on the Washington Mall this summer. They loved the houses, which were clearly modernist in design, and could happily envision themselves living in such a house. I say cynicism because in ten years when they are looking for their first house to buy, I bet they will be looking for something "phony colony" or "neo-traditional"(Architectural anachronisms) in a garage door dominated subdivision. These kids will grow up and get conservative. Or maybe not. I have been encouraged recently to hear that the baby boomer's kids are not neccessarily looking for houses like they grew up in. Green design is in, cool modern aesthetics are in, smaller footprints and better floor plans are in. natural light is important, neighborhood is important and not just for the quality of the local schools. A good measure of design is "would a twelve year old think it's cool?" This works for houses just as much as other forms of design such as automobiles and electronics.