Mare Island in Vallejo, California, is a different kind of ghost town. Instead of a dusty main street lined with shoot-out inspiring saloons, Mare Island's ghosts are industrial, lumbering and long gone. The island's massive - and I mean massive - buildings were home to submarine and ship building shops during World War II and beyond. Today, they are a mix of desolate and delightful, with huge arched entries and walls of small-paned windows: daylighting designed decades before the term was coined. If picking locks was my thing, I'd love to explore their abandoned innards.
Today I got to explore one of these hulks which has been revived by modern modular builder Blu Homes. Soaring 10 stories inside, the building used to house US Navy submarines while under construction. Its massive proportions easily allow Blu Homes to fully construct two story modular homes, before folding them up, origami-like, and shipping them to site. With more than ten modules in various stages of construction inside the building, the large structure still seemed empty.
With the manufacturing industry in shreds, the country is full of pockets of buildings like those on Mare Island. These are not cool coffee warehouses easily converted into hip offices for caffienated start ups. These are blimps of buildings, with no insulation and and even less of interest in the surrounding areas. Builders - whether the sexy green variety such as Blu Homes, or the practical panelized firms - are the perfect tenants to bring these ghost towns back to life.
I'm passionate about sustainable architecture + energy + food and how advances in their technology can help save the planet.