Ellen Dunham-Jones takes you through retrofitted suburbia, transforming dead malls into buzzing downtown centers.
[Image: Walnut Village]
Created by artist Ross Racine, I don’t have much to say about these incredible suburban landscapes other than they’re sick – and, of course, my ninjas, please! Both playful and critical, Ross’ creations speak to both the best and the worst aspect of the suburbs – and are fun to look at. Amazingly, while you’re first reaction may be that nearly all of his imaginary suburbs are absurd, I found that after getting over the cartoonish quality that these plans are not necessarily so far fetched – and I truly believe that if shown to a suburban developer, a number of them would be built. I mean, who doesn’t want to live in a cloud? What?
[Image: Sunshine Acres]
Drawn freehand directly on a computer and printed on a high-end inkjet printer, my works do not contain photographs or scanned material.
The subjects of my recent work may be interpreted as models for planned communities as much as aerial views of fictional suburbs, referencing the computer as a tool for the urban planning as well as the image capture. Investigating the relation between design and actual lived experience, the works subvert the apparent rationality of urban design, exposing conflicts that lie beneath the surface. these digital drawings are a comment on the fears as well as the dreams of suburban culture.
~ Ross Racine, via
[Image: Dewdrop Village]
Head on over to REBURBIA to vote on your favorite submission to the competition, which is dedicated to re-envisioning the suburbs. Finalists have been chosen by the judges and [I think] the rest is up to you.
I would also encourage you to check out the ‘Notable Entries‘, as many of them are sick – such as Glass Houses: (Matta) Clark County, Nevada by ZELLNERPLUS, which I’ve decided to feature here. Basically, I think this was my favorite of the submissions – largely due to the fact that the notion of splitting McMansions into smaller units Gordon Matta Clark style is just too ridiculous not to love. I mean, my ninjas, PLEASE – thing is brilliant.
Anyways, ending up on AMNP isn’t anywhere near as good as winning the competition – but I wanted to give the project a shout.
Glass Houses: (Matta) Clark County, Nevada by ZELLNERPLUS
Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate in the United States. 70,000 homes are affected- meaning 1 in 16 in homes is vacant. Not coincidentally, there are nearly 6,000 Clark County School District students who are now considered homeless. 1/3 of the homeless in Nevada are children under the age of 18, suggesting a much larger floating homeless population.
Re-inventing suburbia today is not a matter of making better houses or improving suburban planning. This project, although highly speculative, seeks to suggest a means of closing the gap between a near-absurd excess of new but vacant suburban homes across the nation, and our tragic, burgeoning homeless population.
We proceed from a Gordon Matta-Clark like vivisection of the typical subdivision. Each house within a standardized block is subdivided into four unequal units separated by a 3 meter wide gap that provides communal access and light. The interiors of each unit are reconfigured and capped with double glazed plates. The glass offers both a means of delivering acoustical and light control (via electrified privacy film.) Thermal control is delivered by employing the cavity space as a temperature buffer.
The ambition of re-envisioning the suburb must address what to do with the human as well as physical fall-out created by failed suburban development models and toxic financial speculation. Until we address the literal and metaphorical implications of these issues we are just gilding the suburban lily.
The ‘LET THEM BURN‘ entry was also pretty entertaining – but really dark.