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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Amanda Dahlgren

SPE Member since 2008
Member Chapter: West


Master-Planned is a fine art photography series exploring the powerful allure created by the builders of today's lavish residential communities. With their Stepford creations, builders play on our tendency to value the grandiose over the genuine by creating the illusion of prestige and instant community in a "custom-built" home.

Personally, I am attracted to the promise of a beautiful brand-new home in a family-oriented neighborhood with great parks, pools, and schools for my daughter. But in this series, I juxtapose this manufactured contemporary American dream with the realities of years of construction activity, a house that is just like everyone else's, a grinding commute, and the harsh truth that many of today's short sales and foreclosures are yesterday's model homes.

The visual style of the series is voyeuristic, intense, and saccharine, echoing the yearning, exploitation, and fantasy swirling around these developments for me. My dreams might tell me that my husband, daughter, and I will find the perfect life in the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, but the truth is that right around the corner sits a family just like us whose dreams are now nightmares in a house that's upside-down.

Sprawl: Stonebridge Estates by McMillin Homes

Consume: Terramar by Pardee Homes

Underwater: Madeira by Shea Homes

Lock: Bridgewalk by Standard Pacific Homes

Stoop: The Willows by Pulte Homes

Casita: Montoro by Cornerstone Communities

Model: Santa Barbara by Heritage Building and Development

Sold: Montoro by Cornerstone Communities

Available: Monte Sereno by Oakwood Development

Idle: Torrey Highlands by Pardee Homes

Reverse: Terramar by Pardee Homes

Construct: 4S Ranch by Newland Communities

White: Santa Rita by Heritage Building and Development

Divide: Presidio by Standard Pacific Homes

Below: Torrey View by Shea Homes

Toll: South Bay Expressway by California Transportation Ventures, Inc.

Detached: Indigo by McMillin Homes

Unfinished: Manzanita Trail by Pardee Homes

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