Feral Houses by James Griffioen

09Aug12

Feral Houses is a fascinating series of photographs by James Griffioen documenting abandoned homes that are taken over by Mother Nature. Even though he feels this is common to the Detroit area I have seen these houses all of my life and the question always lingers “What happened?” His thoughts on the matter are below.   pb

“I’ve seen “feral” used to describe dogs, cats, even goats. But I have wondered if it couldn’t also be used to describe certain houses in Detroit. Abandoned houses are really no big deal here. Some estimate that there are as many as 10,000 abandoned structures at any given time, and that seems conservative. But for a few beautiful months during the summer, some of these houses become “feral” in every sense: they disappear behind ivy or the untended shrubs and trees planted generations ago to decorate their yards. The wood that framed the rooms gets crushed by trees rooted still in the earth. The burnt lime, sand, gravel, and plaster slowly erode into dust, encouraged by ivy spreading tentacles in its endless search for more sunlight.

Like some of the dogs I’ve seen using these houses as shelter (I followed a whole pack into #9 last week), these houses are reverting to a wild state, as from domestication, a word derived itself from domesticus (the Latin for belonging to the domus, or house). Now these houses are feralis. They belong only to the dead.”

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2 Responses to “Feral Houses by James Griffioen”

  1. As a law, Sicilian historical homes here are never to be demolished, whether abandoned or not. But, I haven’t seen one taken over by the greens of the earth, yet!

  2. Why can’t these houses be demolished? Seems to me that if they were all destroyed then new industry could move in and the area would be sussesfull again


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