In June a full-block surface parking lot in downtown Flint, Mich. will house a ghostly, floating home — a monument to the ravages of the foreclosure crisis and a nod to the revitalization public art projects like this one hope to further in the one-time home of General Motors.
London-based Two Islands took first place in the inaugural Flat Lot Competition, which comes with a $25,000 prize, for their design, Mark’s House. The story of an imagined Flint resident named Mark Hamilton, whose family loses their home to foreclosure, Mark’s House takes the form of a Tudor-style house clad in reflective panels and set atop a mirrored pedestal. The structure can hold 1,500 gallons of water to be used for cooling mists for visitors to the structure’s canopy and event stage on hot summer days.
The design-build competition, launched last fall by Flint Public Art Project and AIA-Flint, called for a temporary structure that would take up no more than eight parking spaces, and would support public programs in a city whose population peaked in 1960.
Flint’s Mayor Dayne Walling hopes the design community will help transform public space in the ailing former industrial town, and international buzz for the competition appears to have been a good start. Organizers said they fielded 221 entries from dozens of countries.
Three other projects received honorable mention: Stage a Lot by KSE Studio (Sofia Krimizi and Kyriakos Kyriakou) of Brooklyn, NY; Building Bodies for Work by Wes Janz, Tim Gray, and Andrea Swartz of Ball State University; and AC.H2O by Mike Ting of British Columbia, Canada.
These projects and 17 others will populate an exhibit alongside Mark’s House to open April 12 during the Flint Art Walk. The built Mark’s House pavilion will open June 14.