By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

UK trio completes Michigan 'floating' house

A summer pavilion in downtown Flint, Michigan, designed by a London-based trio of architects and designers who met at Foster + Partners, has been officially unveiled

The temporary $25,000 Mark’s House, which ‘floats’ above the town’s central car park, was drawn up by Two Islands Studio, founded by William Villalobos, Cesc Massanas and Tom Selva.

The competition-winning project is described as a ‘metaphor both for what the city has lost as well as its on-going revitalisation’ and is based on the story of an imaginary Flint resident whose family home is repossessed.

Described by the contest judges (see below) as a ‘poetic and bold structure’, the scheme was designed with NousEngineering and opened at the end of August.

The architect’s view - William Villalobos

The design tells the story of an imagined Flint resident, Mark Hamilton, whose family loses a home to foreclosure; perching a Tudor-style house clad in reflective panels on top of a mirrored pedestal, giving the structure the appearance of floating in mid-air. The house serves as a metaphor for both what the city has lost, as well as its ongoing revitalization, while also providing a canopy and stage for Flat Lot events.

Everyone loses something. A relative, a friend, a house, you can loose anything sometimes. So that gap that is created by lifting the house up is symbolic of that absence and that sense of abandonment. But it also represents shelter and what it means to have something hovering above you that means so much to you.

Our choice of dynamic cladding means it changes texture with the weather. Being a temporary pavilion in nature Mark’s House used a 5mm reflective Mylar layer for its cladding, strong and durable material that tends to change rapidly according to different weather conditions, the cladding will stretch on stormy days and wrinkle under hot sunny conditions.

The material’s hygroscopic properties cause it to stretch and wrinkle with varying humidity and water absorption.

During the night, the 882 personalised boxes that make up the ceiling light up to reveal pictures of local residents and supporters around the world. We received hundreds of pictures from those showing support, exhibit their creativity, and communicate the meaning of a place like home.

Mark’s House pedestal weighs over 4000 lbs and the structure has been designed to withstand 90 mph winds.

Design Team: Two Islands | William Villalobos, Cesc massanas, Tomas Selva, Scott Hook (London, Madrid)
Structural Engineers: Nous Engineering (Los Angeles, CA)
Architect of Record: Sedgwick & Ferweda Architects (Flint, Michigan)
Contractor: Sorensen & Gross Construction Services (Flint, Michigan)

Previous story (AJ 29.03.2013)

London trio wins Michigan pavilion contest

Judges pick ‘poetic and bold’ proposal for $25,000 temporary structure over car park in Flint, Michigan, birthplace of General Motors

A London-based trio of architects and designers who met at Foster + Partners have won an international contest to build a summer pavilion in downtown Flint, Michigan.

The temporary scheme by Two Islands Studio, founded by William Villalobos, Cesc Massanas and Tom Selva, will ‘float’ above the town’s central car park. Entitled Mark’s House, it is described as a ‘metaphor both for what the city has lost as well as its on-going revitalisation’ and is based on the story of an imaginary Flint resident whose family home is repossessed.

The $25,000 structure will be clad in reflective panels, sit on top of a mirrored pedestal and hold up to 1,500 gallons of water, which can be released as a cooling spray during hot summer days.

Described by the judges as a ‘poetic and bold structure’, the scheme was designed with NousEngineering and MF architecture and will open on 14 June.

The contest was organised as part of the Flint Public Art Project with the backing of the Flint Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

‘The winning proposal shows how art and design can transform Flint’s public spaces,’ said City of Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. ‘This project will provide an amenity for all Flint residents and visitors to all of our great summer events at the Flat Lot.’

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters