Ice House in Detroit highlights frozen housing market

February 2, 2010

An abandoned house in Detroit has been encased in layers of ice as part of an architectural installation and social change project.

A project to freeze a Detroit home, drawing attention to the foreclosures that have affected the area and highlighting the number of abandoned houses in the city, is nearing completion.

Photographer Gregory Holm and architect Matthew Radune started the project, called Ice House Detroit, in 2009. Describing it as an “architectural installation and social change project,” Holm and Radune selected one of the 20,000 abandoned houses slated for demolition, in order to highlight “contemporary urban conditions in the city and beyond”.

The pair has been gradually icing the house in the last couple of weeks, spraying water onto the building to encase it in layers of ice. Holm is photographing the project as it progresses, posting updates on the ["Ice House Detroit":] blog.

Detroit’s population is half of what it was in the 1950s, leaving thousands of empty homes in the city. In a post on 1 February 2010, Holm estimates that nearly one in every four homes is in a state of disrepair or completely abandoned.

Holm and Radune have been working in partnership with organisations to run a food and clothing drive for the community. They have also partnered with a non-profit organisation that salvages building materials for reuse, keeping them out of landfill sites. Once the house has been demolished in spring, the site will be transformed into a community garden.

All images courtesy Ice House Detroit. Photographs by Gregory Holm and Rosie Sharp.

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