re-appropriate our built environment
Causing creative transformations of abandoned buildings & spaces; a systems-theory approach towards adaptive-reuse.
Introducing permaculture to abandoned spaces to net vibrant & innovative, multi-useful spaces.
Compiling an intelligent strategy to revive our neglected structures; integrating radical architecture, permaculture, design, systems theory, input and output schemes, food systems, imagination, and more.
welcome to the wild world; of the abandoned
Industrialism has a wake; as that tide wanes away . . . relics, remains, treasures, antiques, bones . . . this wealth of reminders begins to really adorn our shared landscape.
Yes they are testaments to overproduction, reminders of economic boom-bust, models of what not to do, and victims of quick-bucks; but our abandoned buildings are also eastereggs, ripe for rebirth. And they deserve our attention.
As we face this modern world, and all of its challenges (as we shoulder global warming, peak everything, & environmental collapse; as we innovate a body of solutions embracing holistic systems, integrated living, permaculture, earthen building, appropriate technology, green design, sustainable cities, and all the rest) we must not overlook our abandoned buildings. As failures of a dated system, they are our opportunity for a new one. If we wanted an inch, they gave us a topography.
Poetic & naked, breathtaking & tragic, messy & omens, addictive & grizzled, abstract & concrete, controversial; welcome to the marvelous, newold world of abandoned buildings.
Like babies, we built our environment. Stacking blocks and blocks in myopic grids, gutting the complex ecosystems we are now falling in love with, dispossessing the intricate webs we are now attempting to re-connect, we built our environment. It becomes clearer, and clearer, as we look around us. Our landscapes are becoming riddled in abandoned buildings; and something (a lot) needs to be done.
it's like dumpsterdiving; for buildings
 Preparatory Contemplations
 an abandoned building is already something
- start with what you've got; even if it seems like nothing, it's something
- an abandoned building is sleeping energy; ready for adaptation
 detectives dig
- do your homework: dig through archives & histories; talk to the locals & all the nearby institutions; use the internet
- buildings -like people- often have layers & layers of fascinating stories to tell; build on these unique experiences
- consider angles of preservation: rescue & celebrate the peculiar components & the unique features
 flow on
- if any qualities jump out, follow them; the transformation has just as much -if not more- to do with the building than it has to do with you
 visionary trajectory
- realize the impacts the original architects and construction crew has wrought upon you, as you attempt to revive the building
what could they have done to smooth your process what shortcuts did they make which slow you down
- when possible, design flexibility into the building's restoration
know that, some day, the building will deteriorate and ruin once more . . . embrace user-friendly functionality material use, wiring/plumbing, & repairs minute installations often lead to huge headaches for everyone
 Initial Approach
- think nothing. just observe, listen, & get to know the building
- sit across the street; behold the building from a nearby rooftop
- circumnavigate the building a dozen times; then a dozen more
- eat/sleep/sing/dance/drink tea; in as many areas as possible
- stand in the building's very center; draw geometric lines however they appear logical; pace them each
- stand in the building's very center; draw a spiral however it appears to uncoil; walk it slowly
 The Pieces of Procedure Pie
 Disposition - '(who is this building)'
the building's previous life(s) & intention(s); its personality food related, hotel, school, prison, theatre, etc. does its physical shape/design signify a unique usage the more information regarding its history, the better investigate the context is it part of a larger network of structures/should it be? does the building have any special relationships/should it?
 Conditions - '(what is this building doing)'
diagnose the building's health; its degree of degradation reinforcements, restoration, continued maintenance dimensions area (of building & land) # of floors, # of walls is there an attic, a rooftop, a basement, a cellar . . .? carrying capacity
 Setting - '(where is this building)'
bioregion flora & fauna, climate, weather, country government, squatter's rights, quirks, and particular surroundings/vicinity is there a local community
Urban Ghosts Media
The Secret Apartment in the Mall
Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas