massive color

:a saturation proposal for the shrinking city

Using an established indicator of intervention, the “fresh paint” sign is an signal of investment in the maintenance of the surface. Whether this undertaken by a government institution, a community organization, an elementary school class, a graffiti artist, or an individual homeowner; the effect is still the same. The color shows that the surface has worth—that the landscape is still productive.

The value of color over whiteness has been debated in architectural discourse such that the use of surface color has been criticized. Potentially distracting from the form, spatial experience, or material palette of the building for new structures, in the landscape of Hamtramck, this distraction is warranted. In a landscape that is increasingly gray, bleak, and blank; color is necessary. There is an attachment to color in this place: Henry Ford’s “any color…so long as it is black” decree, state-of-the-art paint robots filled the new GM Assembly Plant in the 1980s, and lately the removal of abandoned structures from these blocks leaves the neighborhood increasingly empty and gray. The shrinking population of this neighborhood leaves the surface landscape even bleaker as more houses are abandoned, burned, and demolished.

Through a series of interventions that take on multiple scales, the productivity of this landscape is forefronted.

There is no singular object,
no singular author,
no singular scale,
no singular surface,
and no prescribed plan of the result.

Rather there is a proposed network of how this idea could overlay with the existing urban fabric. It questions the treatment of all surfaces: infrastructural objects, built form, and even deeper surfaces like the ground. The tagging of these surfaces is meant to act as a catalyst.

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Winter 2010
The University of Michigan TCAUP
Critic: Christian Unverzagt

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