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Phantom Home Reflects Michigan’s Residential Distress

In artistic response to Flint, Michigan’s economic housing crisis, designers from Two Islands have created a reflective memorial of the town’s staggering amount of homes lost to foreclosure. Their floating 28-foot high house won the Flint Public Art Project’s Flat Lot Competition, which modestly called for an engaging temporary pavilion to serve as a platform for Flint’s busy recreational area.

Offering more than an unusual temporary stage for a summer activities, the winning design titled Mark’s House incarnates another home lost to foreclosure. The reflective tudor-style house is wrapped in mylar to reverberates the town’s surrounding character, commerce, and most importantly, the town’s residents.

From afar the structure blends into the sky and soaks into the city, but up close, under its shelter, the weight of its design becomes unavoidable. The residents’ reflections force accountability, while also providing a softer reminder that it is family and community that actually transform a house into a home. The design goes even further to expand the community to neighboring nations, with faces of some of the 800+ project supporters shining down onto the platform who show their understanding.

Although the house mirrors the town’s distress, it shouldn’t serve as a stagnant expression. The structure provides a direct message to the town: examine the economic issues, and then mobilize to fix them. As the season changes, the pavilion will move on yet persist as a memory – urging residents to actively improve their community.

While the concept is elegant and inspiring, the execution has fumbled aesthetically: a low budget forced a clumsy construction, and time and weather have quickly pleated the finish. Underwhelmed residents have likened it to a wrinkled-foil eyesore. The effort was a valiant one and the outcome was not painfully ironic; instead, it further illustrates the towns need for economic reevaluation and support.

Keara Wright

Aspiring creative author and astrophysicist, with degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology.

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