Mark’s House is a building with a story, as its name might already suggest. But it is no story that traces far back.
The design actually tells the viewer an imaginary event. The architecture and design practice of Two Islands is responsible for this impressive work in the heart of the US American city of Flint, Michigan. The project is the result of an international competition, organized by the Flint Public Art Project and AIA Flint (American Institute of Architects).
Of Losing and Winning
Mark’s House is a story of loss. Mark Hamilton is a fictional inhabitant of the city of Flint, whose family loses its home and property. Basically, the building is a Tudor style house that rests on a mirrored base. This creates the impression of an object floating in mid-air. William Villalobos tries to put in words what Mark’s House is actually about or what it stands for as a metaphor:Everyone loses someone or something. A relative, a friend, a house, you can lose something at any time. This gap we create by lifting the house is a symbol for the lack, the absence, and the abandonment. But it is also a refuge and it shows what it means when something is virtually floating above us that has an enormous meaning for us. A very philosophic approach, from which the project originated. The metaphor embodied in Mark’s House has two aspects. On the one hand, it emphasizes the losses of the city, but it also stands for its revitalization on the other. Mark’s House offers both roofed areas and a stage for potential events.
Ever changing like the Weather
The details of the installation, which is a much more apt term than “building”, are also fascinating.Mark’s House changes its surface with the weather. The reflecting façade is characterized by the various textures it may display. On hot sunny days, the very solid and durable material expands, coating the entire object with creases like that of a cloth. On rainy days, however, the material contracts, enclosing the form of the building tightly and creating a smooth surface. Due to its hygroscopic qualities, the façade material changes, depending on the weather conditions. At night, another detail becomes clearly visible. When you stand right under the building and look up, you find 882 boxes on the ceiling, showing personal pictures. These are pictures of the local residents and people from all around the globe, who support the project. One may forward a personal picture to Two Islands at any time to become a part of the design object. By now, hundreds of photographs of people from all around the world, who want to support the creativity of the project and the meaning of the place we call home, have been received.