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Toss by Crookedworks

Next City’s Storefront for Innovation, Philadelphia
February 2, 2013–April 5, 2013

Inspired by the urban tradition of tossing worn sneakers onto overhead cables, architects Carey Clouse and Zach Lamb (known as Crookedworks) have turned to birdhouses as a form of expression.

Loosely assembled from urban detritus — wires, fabric ribbons, disposable coffee cup lids, bicycle tubing, and lots of plastic bags — the amorphous forms more accurately resembled the nests that our feathered friends build for themselves than the “houses” we craft for them.

The installation attempted to comment on notions of trash and waste and nature’s presence in the city. But what the constructions most obviously achieved was a sense of imagination combined with an amused response to our natural and built surroundings. About half came from the New Orleans–based team themselves, the rest from a workshop they led for a mix of Philly hipsters and neighbors with kids.

Ultimately, the birdhouses will be tossed over telephone wires, just like the sneakers that served as inspiration for the project. The architects say the idea is to see if birds use them as habitats — and if city authorities ever remove them.