Yesterday we visited the houses we are working on for our community project. Compulsory hard hat territory as they have already started to knock some of them down.
Built at the end of the ’50s these rows of houses, like post-war homes all over Europe, were constructed from prefabricated concrete. Modern for their time, quickly built to replace housing lost in the war, they now up for demolition, subject to claims that they are not earthquake proof according to today’s standards. Coincidently the space they occupy is also premium land for new development.
Full of rich memories for those who once lived there we are looking at ways in which something might be preserved. Given that land has to remain empty for 3 years after buildings have been demolished we are thinking about community gardens, growing vegetables, eating together and persuading the developers to leave at least one house as a cafe.
We will be finding ways to collect the ideas of the local community and the university staff (these were once homes for lecturers and their families). And planning a farewell ceremony for the houses, the ghosts and the memories that live in them.
As many of the buildings are already being destroyed we’ll be using objects and materials we save from them.