YEAR: 2017
Tessellate is an experimental model for how to reimagine the post-urban landscape, centering around a hypothesis for alternative sustainable development in which proceeds from renting the renovated house are reinvested in an outward-reaching neighborhood initiative.

The program, an art space and artist residency in the garage and backyard apartment that opened in April 2017, is inserted into a normative residential block on the Southside of Pontiac. Tessellate is dedicated to seeding conversations between communities and imagining new creative, collective urban futures. Grounded in art not as object but as vehicle for action and exchange, the project seeks to uncover beauty in overlooked places and actively, through spatial and material intervention, reach to engage and enhance the surrounding community.

As part of the design-build project, the entire house and property have been renovated. The architectural build-out of the garage consists of a five foot tall strip of drywall floating between the cracked concrete floor and the raw wood trussed ceiling. Hovering off the face of the slanted and skewed studs and the cracked and crumbling masonry, this small strip of the white cube highlights the juxtaposition between the contradictory programs contained within.

Simultaneously a typical suburban garage and at the same time not a garage at all, the space is turned inside out. It invites the public into a place traditionally both private and programmatically service oriented—the garage is never a place to see, never a place to be seen. Tessellate attempts to invert this relationship, to swap the house for generators into a generator for interaction. At night, the gallery spills out, illuminating the sidewalk and street through the open overhead door. In a neighborhood with few streetlights, the light serves as a beacon, drawing attention to the rupture in the normative urban fabric.
Elise DeChard