Retrofitting The American Dream
Project Designer: Artur Nesterenko Project Leader: Berenica Boberska
The 2007 market crash forced a relocation of suburban housing into a high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of the center city and inner suburbs. This created a profound structural shift – a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered. The fact that the land under the house has no value and the houses are worth less than they would cost to be replaced, creates a big possibility that many fringe suburbs will turn into waste lands, with abandoned houses and a rising crime rate.
This crash once again gives tremendous opportunity and draws the attention of the architects into the suburbs. It reminds us that we should no longer be worrying about how we are going to design communities in the future, but what we are going to do with the communities that we are left with. Instead of demolishing an abandoned neighborhood, I am proposing to deconstruct and re-purpose the remains of abandoned houses into a new construction tool according to the client’s needs and interests. The idea is to use the fabric of a failed neighborhood as a form work to construct a new type of housing with injected shared spaces and public structures. The rafters of single detached houses, the floor joists, the studs, pipes, details and the house itself with all of the structural elements will be re-used as form work to retrofit the American Dream.
I decided to create imaginary clients with different professions and interest in buying abandoned houses to deconstruct and redesign to create new type of houses according to their needs.