FALLOW CITY: FERAL STRUCTURES, SOLAR THICKETS – PROTOTYPES FOR DETROIT
Fallow City Project is an intervention in the typical fabric of suburbia, in the monoculture of private spaces and cultivated dreams.
Taking the current crisis of the suburbs as a chance, and the most extreme situation of Detroit as its site, the project aims to develop new scenarios and new typologies of structures for the emerging fallow cityscapes. The interventions propose more playful and public ways of using or mis-using the suburban forms.
Similar to intensive farming of a single type of crop, suburbia is an overstretched production of property, creating a thinness of space, use, ideas. A fallow season which releases the city from this productivity creates an interruption where unusual uses and forms can flourish.
The Fallow City Project begun as a Design Laboratory bringing together a team of students from the departments of art, architecture, landscape architecture, electrical engineering and chemistry – led by Berenika Boberska as part of the Artist’s Residency at the McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia.
2010, Installation at the Ruffin Gallery, McIntire Department of Art,University of Virginia
The exhibition presents a full-scale installation of a Solar Thicket structure prototype, one of the typologies of Fallow City. Deploying strategies found in fairytales – Solar Thickets can overgrow abandoned houses facilitating their enchantment and transformation. They can connect between houses, create canopies within urban meadows, and span over streets to interweave a new layer of public space into the existing fallow suburban landscape. Integrated photovoltaic systems provide light for public spaces as the city infrastructure retreats.