Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Matt and I have been accepted into Rice University's next publication of PLAT journal, Scapegoat Journal, and are discussing publication via Metropolis and The New York Times. We've also been invited to work on another house in Flint, Michigan, as part of the Flint Public Art Project:

We're also working on our own publication which will cover the past 8 months in more depth. To ground our own work we'd like to get a stronger understanding of the broader context. The proposal is a 2 month research trip, hitting up places such as Fresh Kills landfill, to the artistic rehabilitations of declining neighborhoods in Detroit, to self-sufficient vigilantes in California, to the culturally rich but dire city of New Orleans. While I do this Matt will be holding down the fort in Buffalo, where we'll join up again afterward to compile a more comprehensive statement about our work and potential implications for the future.

  • Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
  • Detroit, MI - Architectural Salvage Warehouse
  • Detroit, MI - Design 99 + Power House
  • Detroit, MI - Imagination Station
  • Detroit, MI - The Heidelberg Project (outdoor art project - abandonment turned artists' colony)

  • Chicago, IL - Lowercase Collective
  • Portland, OR - Communitecture

  • Portland, OR - The ReBuilding Center
  • Lagunitas, CA - David Hoffman
  • San Diego, CA - Estudio Teddy Cruz 
  • Colorado Desert, CA - Slab City (decommissioned and uncontrolled site-turned squatting and camping grounds)
  • Taos, New Mexico - Earthship Biotecture/Mike Reynolds (passive solar houses made of natural and recycled materials)

  • Huntsville, TX - Phoenix Commotion/Dan Phillips (Eco-friendly homes for low-income families)
  • Houston, TX - John Milkovisch
  • New Orleans, LA - Eric Kugler
  • New York, NY - Fresh Kills landfill (one of the largest landfills [and man-made structures] in the world, now under development as "Freshkills Park")

  • New York, NY - ABC No Rio (community center/activist collaborative)
  • New York, NY - The Hole (ghost town between Brooklyn and Queens)
  • Boston, MA - Ze-gen, Inc. (renewable energy company - gasification)

But this can't happen without help. Check out the Kickstarter campaign and its sweet rewards:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

He Who Lives in a Glass House

...keeps his stones for the french drain behind the tire foundation.

The southern facade is replaced with a collage of found wood-frame windows, and the gallery-like pathways around the "basement" are finished off with railings (topped with waterbed bumpers, for comfort). The wall opens up the space visually, and physically with a glass door - a more private entrance, and continuity with the ever developing backyard.

Bricks are layed dry over the rough concrete floor of the lower space - partly for aesthetic and not having anything better do with them for now, and partly because this back room still isn't 100% watertight. The bricks create a kind of raised platform where small amounts of water can drain to the ground pipe in the corner without puddling up.

In preparation for the big crowd of people that would be the post-thesis review celebration, we've had to clean up and organize the other materials we've amassed. With the woodwall gone, this living space has to be readdressed. Some pallets form a partition, and arms are attached on one side to act as a lumber rack. This not only gets our materials out of the weather, but organizes them and acts as a promenade to constantly remind us of our stock.

The other space this creates is something more of a leisure space, with books organized in the gaps of the pallets and light pouring through the double window.

So that our window wall doesn't look out to a mound of disorganized "junk," everything is organized and purposed. The bits of vegetable gardening we've begun guide the development of this material garden - piles of heavy timber to frame pathways, propane tanks as bench supports, TV's and tubs as table legs, tires as display for plywood and plywood as display for tires...

...and a #1 outhouse made from an old autoshop sign, plastic light diffusers, pallets, and shutters:

Very little of this would have been possible without tremendous support from a number of people. Thanks to everyone on this list, probably a handful of others, and to everyone who came down for last week's open house (and special thanks to Sharon Li and Colleen Perkins for setting an amazing spread of food).

Next? Dealing with inspectors, with the responsibilities of home ownership when getting a job means leaving Buffalo, and putting together these past 8 months into a book.