The sliding house

The front of a derelict house in Margate seems to be sliding into the street. But this is no bizarre subsidence nightmare, the consequence of the modern obsession with basement conversions, or yet another coastal town seeing shocking erosion by the sea: this is art.

So how has it been done - and more to the point, why?


The work

The artwork is called 'From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes', and involved removing the white facade of the run-down building in Goodwin Road in the Clifton area of Margate. He left part of the upper floor open to the elements, and built a new curved facade on a wooden frame. The end result is a house frontage that looks as though it is sliding down the front of the building.

Artist Alex Chinneck, a 28-year-old from Hackney, started the project in August and spent a month working on it - at a cost of £100,000. It was funded by the Arts Council.

He used a house that had been empty for 11 years and was owned by the council. It will be returned to a habitable condition after 12 months. Ten companies donated their time and resources to make it happen.

Why?

Chinneck has a reputation for creating enormous optical illusions with buildings. He put in 1,200 pieces of glass on the front of a factory in Hackney last year to make it look like each window had been identically smashed. He has also built a melting brick wall for a previous piece of public art. According to The Verge, he says he likes to take dark subject matter and producing something playful around it.

He told the Mirror that he had chosen Margate for the work because the Turner Contemporary art gallery was opening locally. He wanted a work that non-arty people would see as part of their every-day lives and be able to enjoy.

According to Dezeen magazine, he also wanted to work in a part of town with social problems, and draw people up the hill from the new gallery to the area. He is certainly drawing the attention of tourists, and the world's media to the faded seaside resort.