At first glance, visitors might think that the house from Disney’s Up managed to crash land atop UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering building. What they’re actually staring at, however, is Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s latest installation, Fallen Star, a 15-by-18-foot New England cottage suspended off the edge of the seven-story Jacobs building at a disconcerting 10-degree tilt from the building’s flat roof. Suh said that the installation recalls his own experience of moving to the U.S. to study at the Rhode Island School of Design. He felt “as if he was dropped from the sky.”
Opened to the public on June 7th, seven years after the artist’s initial sketch, the home has a garden, plum trees, wisteria vines, tomatoes, and more. Inside, the white-trimmed blue cottage (its interior floor set on a gentler five degree tilt) is furnished with a living room set, bookcase, and even a chimney that blows off steam to simulate smoke. Picture frames display baby pictures of former Jacobs School of Engineering deans. Except for the chandelier, which hangs plumb due to gravity, everything is slightly askew, just as the artist envisioned.
Fallen Star was built in the Fall of 2011 and hoisted onto Jacobs Hall on November 15. Despite its unusual siting, the home didn’t escape from building regulators’ grasp. It adheres to California’s earthquake building codes and can withstand 100 mph winds. The project is the 18th installation of UCSD’s Stuart Collection, which engages international artists to create site-specific work on campus. The $1.3 million budget for the project came from private donations except for a $90,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant. Fallen Star is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.