garden on the edge

Here’s the artist’s rendering for a new project that’s going up on the way to my weekday office. In this view things look pretty normal: a clapboard house, lawn, shrubberies, foundation plantings, patio furniture, shade umbrella–nostalgic Americana, tidy, idyllic.

But here’s an alternate view of the entire project. In this piece, “Fallen Star,” by artist Do Ho Suh, this little blue house hangs over the edge of one of the campus buildings, seven stories above the quad below.

The project description on the Stuart Collection’s page for the project provides some background, including this:

For the Stuart Collection, Suh has proposed Fallen Star, a small house that has been picked up by some mysterious force, (perhaps a tornado) and “landed” on a building, seven stories up. A roof garden is part of Suh’s design and will be a place with panoramic views for small groups to gather. This can be seen as a “home” for the vast numbers of students who have left their homes to come to this huge institution, the university, which has nothing even resembling a home. It is an unforgettable image and will be a truly amazing experience sure to stay in the minds and memory of students and visitors for years to come.”

Do Ho Suh Fallen Star rendering and view of the piece's eventual perch.

Some projects you can look at and tell immediately that they’re going to be popular. This is one of them.

Count me in to stand in line to get a chance to visit the installation after it’s completed and open, currently projected to be January 2012. It should be a cool mix of fun and unnerving, looking for home on the edge in a fading empire.

17 thoughts on “garden on the edge”

  1. So is the building that the blue house and roof garden are going to be on new construction or is it an existing building? Because while I love the idea I can’t help but think the rendering is just plain hideous!

  2. Janet, I hope to get up to the completed piece as soon as I can. Yes, there will be pictures!

    EE, George, I’m not sure if visitors will be permitted into the lue house as it hangs over the edge. How I hope so, though! It’s on the precipice of the School of Engineering, so it must be all safe and figured out (he said hopefully…)

    Katie, some things are better on the edge, the view for one!

    Loree, the blue house part will be new but the rest of the structure has been in place for well over a decade. I’m sure there’ll be some serious reinforcement work to get the building to stay up at such an extreme angle. The rendering is my crappy cellphone camera shot of one of those construction site information signs, so I’m sure there’s a better rendition out there, particularly on the Stuart Collections website.

  3. Very interesting. I haven’t been on the UCSD campus in years, but they’ve certainly heightened the contrast by picking what must be one of the coldest-looking buildings to perch this on.

  4. Great concept…the idea of creating a “home” away from home for all of those students. However, if they are not allowed to go inside, it may become a quest to get inside. You know how college students can get when they are told something is off limits.

  5. Reminds me of the kids’ book about a little house that starts out in an idyllic setting, then industry encroaches until it is surrounded by factories and skyscrapers…poignant and sad.

  6. James, I suppose you could also find in this piece something about the fragility of finding and maintaining community, and that might be more in keeping with the artist’s intentions…

    Susan, the building behind the perch is actually pretty wonderful, but the perch definitely could use a little warming up.

    PH, I worry about that too! Inviting students up on the roof is dicey enough.

    Ricki, a lot of art seems to rely on placing something where it doesn’t quite fit. This house will gain a lot from that juxtaposition.

  7. It’s always fun to watch the progress of building nearby, but this is in some other dimension! I’m curious as to whether anyone can actually live in this house, or is it just an installation?

  8. Pomona, it’s basically an art piece, so won’t be intended for habitation. But it will be possible to go inside.

    Katie, gardening high up has its challenges alright! The folks in your link seem to be making a great go of it. The big deal with this piece is the house hanging on the edge; otherwise it’d be a nice little roof garden. But sometimes all it takes is a single gesture to make you totally pay attention to a situation.

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