Material Bank: Flint, Michigan

Open Access
Orman, Michael
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Architecture
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • James Theodore Kalsbeek, Thesis Supervisor
  • Christine Lee Gorby, Honors Advisor
  • material reclamation
  • material salvage
  • demolition
  • abandonment
The collapse of the US auto industry in the 1970’s devastated Flint, the birthplace of General Motors. One in four houses are abandoned today. Thousands of homes have already been demolished and thousands more are expected to be demolished. Ten years ago, the county set up a public land bank to manage the huge quantity of abandoned property. Located in downtown Flint, The Land Bank takes ownership of abandoned properties, keeping them out the hands of property speculators and maintaining them for public use. The proposed Material Bank would be an extension of the Land Bank, taking possession of abandoned materials and keeping them out of the landfill. During a Land Bank demolition, salvageable material would be saved at the Material Bank. The low technology of material salvage allows for the creation of six jobs for every one hired in conventional demolition. The materials would be made available to residents as affordable building material or used in Land Bank renovation projects. A simple scaffolding system with adjustable height platforms would allow for the safety of workers deconstructing the partial ruins as they accessed the materials as well as the temporary shelter of salvaged materials. The Material Bank would be a decentralized bank with branches in different neighborhoods of Flint. A wall of storage divides the building into two primary zones. The salvage yard to the west of the wall, and the workshops and construction yard to the east.