I got a call from my mother yesterday, for my birthday. Shockingly, their small house on St Croix (US Virgin Islands) has doubled in value in the past two years, confirming my suspicion that the Virgin Islands exist in some sort of bizzarro-world, or possibly are simply jumping through time like the island on LOST. With the job market looking pretty grim, I've already been considering moving down there temporarily to work on my portfolio and study for the ARE (there is no IDP requirement in the Virgin Islands, though getting reciprocity might be difficult without it), but this news opens up a new possibility. My parents are now considering selling the house and buying a plot of land, with the intent of eventually building a new house...
Obviously this would be quite an endeavor, but there are certainly worse ways to spend ones time while unemployed, so I'm feeling a little better about my worst-case-scenario. To make things more interesting, St Croix has a surplus of used tires, which can't be recycled on-island, and shipping them off is too expensive. Additionally, all building materials must be shipped in, so even concrete blocks are double the price you'd find them on the mainland. So, one idea is to construct this thing out of rammed-earth-filled tires, but rather than a hippie-earthship, try to match (as close as possible) the typical Danish Colonial style prevalent in the older buildings on the island.
So, while I'd obviously rather find a job (New York? Europe? Asia? Anywhere?) I'm lucky to have this to fall back on.
Thoughts on the M.Arch I program at the Ohio State University, 2005-2009, plus additional work with OSU as a critic and lecturer.