Ice house detroit

What happens when you take one of over 20,000 abandoned homes in Detroit and call attention to it in the middle of winter … by pouring gallon after gallon of water over the roof until it is covered from top to bottom – windows, walls, plants and all – with ice?

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Ice house detroit before

For one thing, the resulting crystals are incredible – unique frozen snowflakes, but super-sized and surrounding every square inch of this installation art project. Moreover, making this structure melt-proof during the day is tougher than you might imagine. Cross-breezes, continuously-added liquid and other cooling strategies were employed to keep the ‘icing’ on this project.

Ice house detroit detail

Aesthetics aside, however, this ‘remodel’ is of course designed to remind people of just how many homes are left to rot in our current economic crisis as well as in general within the city limits of hard-up towns like this poster-child Michigan city.

Ice house detroit detail icicles

A collaborative project by photographer Greg Holm and Mathew Radune, this Ice House structure – already bound for destruction – will be demolished after the architectural installation is complete and the proceeds as well as the property itself will go to deserving local family for reuse and, ultimately, the reconstruction of a replacement home.

Ice house detroit black and white

“Thanks to our great crew (and Mother Nature for a string of cold days) we were able to finalize the icing of the house. Early yesterday morning, a professional lighting crew was brought in to light the Ice House Detroit landscape with painterly skill. The crew was directed by Richard Sands while Gregory photographed the project with his 8×10 still camera and directed an installation film of his own. This film was shot using a 35mm movie camera. The large lighting and film component which was completed early this morning brought our collaboration to another level, utilizing the architectural installation as a canvas for yet another form of expression. We will no longer be working our 24 hour shifts, but we are still interested in maintaining the dialogue amongst the citizens of Detroit.”

“The neighborhood in which we decided to do our project is one of the poorest in the nation but after getting to know many of you personally we have been genuinely inspired by your perseverance in the face of systematic disregard and neglect. Thank you for your kind and generous support and for all of the stories you have been so willing to share. For those of you who have not seen the home thus far, please feel free to view the project at 3920 McClellan St. (just off of Mack). It can be viewed for the next several days until the sun takes it back.”