cairo, illinois: sunken island, walled city, ghost town. a self-imposed isolation from the world caused by the city’s encompassing levee walls and years of racism and economic depression left it in a state of abandonment and utter disrepair. walls crumbling. bricks fading. storefronts looted and destroyed. today, cairo stands as a remnant of its former self, victim to the decay of time.

cairo: echoes of spatial delusion(2009) reexamines the nature and identity of the city by way of its doomed and tumultuous narrative. through an exploration of the effects of temporality, memory and decay on the lives of its citizens, a willful revisionist history of the region is drafted through new narratives as a means of rewriting its architecture. this resultant environment is one forged from the fragmented memories and images of cairo’s aberrant residents, their illusions informing and shaping the architecture which they inhabit.

full document (pdf)

exhibits:

exhibit 01: dwelling of darkness
“Now, in that lonely house once so prominent and dazzling, she sits in her antique recliner
underneath the only remaining bulb, its brilliance slowly heating the top of her head, and
listens to Beethoven.”
exhibit 02: dwelling of dysthymia
“His walls, long been gutted to accommodate each new pipe, barely support the roof over his head.”
exhibit 03: dwelling of dean
“It wasn’t just flickering lights and sound, it was a way out of the city, even if just for two hours.”
exhibit 04: dwelling of design
“Some years few rains fell, but he knew that one day the fabled hundred years flood would come. A flood so devastating, nothing would stand in its way; nothing but another story to protect his house and his office.”
exhibit 05: dwelling of deracination
“There were no empty boxes, no papers lying around, no calendar on the wall; just an empty shell. But an empty shell that kept the rain out. He knew he’d not be living in his car for long.”
exhibit 06: dwelling of dissociation
“So she made the dolls in a separate side of the house, which she locked each afternoon before he came home from school.”
exhibit 07: dwelling of dimentia
“She did envy them, just a little; how their weight never seemed to fluctuate, even an ounce or two. Or how they never seemed to age a bit.”
exhibit 08: dwelling of dissection
“But he found that there was a big difference between watching a living butterfly flitting through the air and cutting into a dead one with a scalpel.”
exhibit 09: composite section
exhibit 10: composite axonometric
exhibit 11: installation