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After Extreme Makeover, Detroit City Block Heads to Italy

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At this year's architecture exhibition at the Venice Biennale art fair, a group of architects brought to the party, well, a city block. The team behind Grounds for Detroit revamped a slice of a residential neighborhood in Detroit to create "imaginative re-evaluations of the city's discarded matter," as Arch Daily put it. The city has so many abandoned homes, in fact, that last year Detroit Mayor Dave Bing offered prospective buyers $150K in renovation money, should they choose to take one of these vacant properties off the market.

Anyway, this installation riffs on a 2010 project in which five young architects bought an abandoned Detroit home for $500 in case and transformed it into a conglomerate of avant garde design. So while the original floorplan for the city block is drawn on the gallery floor of the Venetian version, that's where all recognizability ends. It's is a delectable mishmash of extreme design and actually "looks WAY more fancy" than its Detroit inspiration, says Curbed Detroit editor Sarah Cox. "But also since the architects built the original one they did not do all the much with upkeep on the place, so it's not in super-great condition."

· Venice Biennale 2012: 13178 Moran Street
· Pretty Shots of Abandoned Homes That Detroit Will Pay You to Buy [Curbed Detroit]
· Young Architects Buy Detroit Home for $500, Turn It into Design Lab [Fast Company]