Reportedly, I.M. Pei never met his hero Frank Lloyd Wright. The young Asian architect waited patiently for his older, wiser contemporary for two hours before giving up. Perhaps that is how the home shoppers feel after being turned away in droves from one North Texas housing development, a place where it could be said that Mr. Pei and Mr. Wright have finally come together. For it is in Frisco, a quaint bedroom community outside of Dallas, that the masterful plans of an Australian firm, MainVue Homes, are turning heads with their long, clean lines, large expanses of glass, and wide open spaces reminiscent of the dynamic duo’s designs. There are dual ironies here: I.M. Pei, an Asian architect, designed the Dallas City Hall, and Frank Lloyd Wright was influenced heavily by Asian art. Although based in Australia, MainVue has a Japanese parent partner bent on forever changing the look of contemporary houses in Dallas.
Still, the thrust of the work is hailing from down under. MainVue is one of Australia’s biggest home builders; and their new homes are causing a frenzy at a time when home buying is at a peak. It is creating the perfect storm in a state that usually shuns such things. It’s a stampede to snap up a piece of architectural wonder with all the warmth that home and hearth can offer at an affordable price. Local builders can only stand by and scratch their heads at these 4,000 square feet plus layouts. To preserve all the intended detail and authenticity of the original blueprints, MainVue flew in its Australian team of workmen and decorators. They wanted just the right touch, which they say is not easily duplicated by those unfamiliar with the process.
The windows are huge. The outdoors wander in with the light, only to be turned away by the fireplaces waiting under 10-foot ceilings. The look is unique, with the materials, the fixtures, the cabinetry, and the flooring all specially made and flown in to complete the look that is completely unique in all of the housing universe. Buyers begin to salivate when they see what they can have in a brand new MainVue home. They become like the kids on the tour through the chocolate factory in the movie. But wait they will have to, because these houses are not yet for sale. Demand is already rolling in, necessitating expansion to developments underway in Colleyville and Celina.
Developers are thrilled with the bold new designs as well, seeing that their communities that were once tracts of farmland are budding with houses that people are barnstorming to buy. Phillips Creek Ranch, the prototype development with the first batch of the Aussie-style homes, has already given rise to a second development, Light Farms. Heads of development are thrilled by these Dallas contemporary homes. These are not the McMansions from the turn of the Millennium. They are a fresh approach, one which promises to influence all of DFW contemporary houses in the near future.
Although large, these homes offer lines that are clean, sophisticated, and uncomplicated. These will appeal to people with taste; but the builders admit that not everyone will be pleased. They realize that people have different standards of beauty, and that tradition sometimes means old-fashioned. Brick ramblers and colonials will still continue to spring up, along with the massive stucco haciendas popularized by Spanish heritage throughout the state. But for those looking to the new frontier in Dallas contemporary houses, they are encouraged to venture up Highway 121 and take a gander at the model homes in Frisco.