Friday, December 3, 2010

Griffintown Interrupted: Half Life

So a good buddy of mine just sent me this fantastic architecture project that he’s been working on. He’s entered a competition to help revitalize Griffintown, one of Montreal’s earliest industrial neighborhoods, and he needs your vote.

While this could be seen as a shameless plug – which it is – it’s also a fantastic idea and the competition itself is really quite thought provoking in terms of how we imagine our urban space.

Taking a unique approach, this community has created an international ideas competition to help create temporary structures.Griffintown is undergoing some growing pains where sleek high rise condos are being built in the midst of old low level industrial buildings and empty lots that house artist studios. Naturally, not everyone is in love with the Wave of the Future while others find this opposition a nuisance.

Eschewing these two sides altogether, “Griffintown Interrupted proposes a third focus for the debate: neither past (restoration) nor future (redevelopment), but present. How can short term projects expand the existing community?” There are five sites that are up for grabs, and participants submitted a plan that details how the site will be disassembled, dehabilitated, and eventually disappear at the end of the short lease.

My buddy’s project, “Half Life” focuses on the old Police Station which currently houses a theatre company as well as many of the town’s ghosts. With such a macabre history and drama literally unfolding inside, there’s so much potential in this project.

He and his partner have turned the demolition of the building into an interactive performance piece. The inhabitants interact with the building as it is destroyed, while the building interacts with its surrounding environment and the changing seasons. The building is slowly destroyed in stages that correspond with the seasons, as the actors continue to host plays for the next 6 months in the decaying husk of the building, “an unorthodox and visceral” venue. All the while, the decay of the building itself offers up a theatrical performance in itself.

To borrow their phrase, “the theatre of demolition begins.”

Check out their project HERE and be sure to vote for it. Oh and don’t forget to tell all your friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment