House Dedicated to Reuse Grows Like a Living Organism



An abandoned house purchased from a college is now a growing, adapting tribute to reclamation and renovation. ‘Fargo House’, a project by professor of architecture Dennis Maher, looks like a veritable museum of junk. But for Maher, it’s much more than that: it’s an example of how changes in an architectural structure can be interpreted as art.

Many of the flaws in the worn-down, abandoned house are still visible, like unfinished walls and deteriorating ceilings. But rather than rebuilding them to look new, Maher collected other items that are seen as past their prime and began to build them into the structure.

One piece on top of another, the bird cages, broken lamps, dollhouses, mirrors, globes and statues create complex walls of objects. New pieces are constantly tacked on, so the space continues to evolve around Maher. Within these seemingly chaotic groupings are hidden themes relating to the function of the room. For example, the Wardrobe Room is full of chests, screens and closet parts.

Maher sees this project – which is also his home – as a work of art that is never complete. No unwanted object is too random to be included as a small component of the ongoing renovation process. And while a house like this is undoubtedly difficult to dust, you’ll never run out of things to look at.

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