All the Queens Houses Syllabus
by Rafael Herrin-Ferri
The borough of Queens has long been celebrated as the melting pot of America. It was the birthplace of North American religious freedom in the seventeenth century, hosted two World’s Fairs in the twentieth, and is currently home to over a million foreign-born residents participating in the American experience. In 2013, I began to paint a portrait of the “World’s Borough”— not with images of its diverse population, or its celebrated international food scene, but with photographs of its highly idiosyncratic housing stock. While All the Queens Houses is mainly a photographic survey celebrating the broad range of housing styles in the United States’ most diverse county, it is also a not-so-subtle endorsement of a multicultural community that mixes global building traditions into the American vernacular, and by so doing breathes new life into its architecture and surrounding urban context.
Following a photographic introduction to the project I have provided some of the artistic, intellectual, and cultural touchstones that have influenced much of the character of the project and could also serve as an everyday architecture curriculum.