The normal niche for this blog is modernist architecture for Vietnamese houses. But I am currently in America, and I got to thinking about what how the typical architecture of American houses might be characterized.
There is a list of a hundred architectural house styles on Wikipedia, and I have seen examples of most of them in my travels around America and the world. As I was driving from California to Montana through Oregon, Washington, and Idaho recently, I noticed that the predominate house style, especially in the western states, is not on the list. If you think about it, what we remember in terms of house styles are memorable houses -- often large houses constructed and owned by the upper economic strata of society. Architects often design these houses with the distinctive styles listed. We ignore the normal common bland houses that most of us live in. Builders design these houses rather than architects. We don't even "see" them although they are ubiquitous.
In the western United States, the standard house is a simple rectangle in plan with a hipped or gabled roof with wide overhangs. Here is an example of one, built in Billings, Montana in the 1950s.
These houses were built everywhere following World War 2 in conjunction with the American baby boom. They are small (1,000 square feet or 93 sq. meters), with an unfinished basement in the northern states. Therefore they were cheap to build using the easily-available wood framing materials common in America.
The closest architectural style on the list is the ranch style, characterized as single-story with low rooflines. Although the typical ranch style house has an attached garage, many of the standard houses do not. Owners often added detached garages on their large lots later in life.
In my writings about Vietnamese houses, I have noted that they are a response to the context and conditions of Viet Nam. They are adapted to small narrow lots in densely-populated cities and towns. They use the ubiquitous masonry materials easily available in Vietnam. The typical American house is low and spread out, adapting to the much larger lot sizes available in low-density American suburbs, towns, and rural areas. They also reflect the much smaller family sizes of America where children starting their own families rent or buy separate houses, and the grandparents have their own houses or have moved to retirement communities. The American houses are simple and bland, which makes them affordable and usable.