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Art among the Ruins

It's a project like no other -- Ice House Detroit is happening!

Thanks to some unseasonable weather (known as the January thaw), the project had a slight delay. Now, the water is flowing. The ice is covering the house and it is surrounding the area in amazing ways. Thanks to the Ice House blog and the Detroit Free Press, there are some stunning pictures of the frozen structure available online.

Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea...

In addition to the one embedded in the blog, the Detroit Free Press posted a gaggle of great photos here. My favorite is the panoramic one with the water sound effect.

Background: Gregory Holm, a photographer, and Matthew Radune, an architect, are collaborating on this architectural installation. The project, which involves working with Detroit-area organizations, "aims to uphold concepts of neighborhood integrity, material reuse, public art, social empowerment and urban farming," according to its organizers.

Here is the mission statement: With the current freeze in the housing market, Detroit is leading the nation in foreclosures. Ice House Detroit references this contemporary urban condition, and involves the acquisition and recontextualization of one of the 80,000 abandoned houses in the city. The house will be sprayed with water in subzero temperatures, gradually building up layers of ice over the course of several days or weeks. Once it is frozen, the common architectural and urban references of the house will be temporarily obscured, providing a period of reflection.

The project may turn out to be one of the more interesting sites happening in our city right now. The two organizers seem really touched by what they are seeing and experiencing. A sample from their blog:

During my time here I have explored the surrounding neighborhood extensively and I would estimate that nearly 1 in every 4 homes is either in a state of disrepair or completely abandoned. And although many have chosen to view these conditions with apathy, my point of view is one of optimism for the future driven by a sense of nostalgia for this neighborhood's past beauty. Amidst the soaring oaks that line these spacious blocks remains a modern and organic grid filled with possibilities that perhaps the fresh eyes of a new generation will bring to fruition. The Ice House project seeks to demonstrate that in much the same way -- as building materials are reclaimed from the many abandoned houses in Detroit, so to can the affected neighborhoods themselves be repurposed through the creativity, spirit, and sense of community clearly demonstrated by the residents themselves.

They also did a food and clothing drive on Martin Luther King Day with United Peace Relief Detroit. "By all estimates we fed 250 homeless in just a couple hours," Radune wrote.

I'm going to drive by and see it in person if I can find it. Impressions to come...

Update: The location, still hidden as of now from most inquiring minds, will be revealed soon. From the blog:

As of this morning, I am finally confident that our project will not melt by our Feb. 7 date of completion. This is when we will make our location public.

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