Eccentric Architecture Of Queens In Photographs

December 12 2017 | By Allison Meier for Hyperallergic
The Eccentric Architecture Of Queens In Photographs

(Above image: “Splayed Brick-and-Stone Rusticated Entry Porch, Maspeth, NY” (2015), from All the Queens Houses / photo by Rafael Herrin-Ferri, courtesy the Architectural League of New York)

In 2012, Rafael Herrin-Ferri began systematically photographing the houses of Queens, the New York City borough he calls home. The Spanish-born artist and architect lives in Sunnyside, one of the many neighborhoods which make up one of the world’s most ethnically diverse urban areas. Herrin-Ferri noticed that the architecture of Queens reflected this diversity, whether the Victorian mansions that mingle with multi-family apartment buildings in Flushing, or the security grille designs and boldly colored siding that individualize even the most minimal homes in Long Island City.

“Queens has a lot of character,” Herrin-Ferri told Hyperallergic. “Manhattan and other parts of New York do, too, but it is usually hidden behind closed doors. In the ‘world’s borough’ it is in plain view to the passerby.”

Over 270 of Herrin-Ferri’s photographs of 34 neighborhoods are currently installed at the Architectural League of New York in All the Queens Houses. While the Manhattan exhibition, co-curated by Herrin-Ferri and with Emily Schmidt, manager of housing initiatives at the League, closes on December 15, the ongoing photographic survey can be explored on his project website, also called All the Queens Houses. There viewers can explore by neighborhood, typologies (like detached houses and apartment buildings), and architectural details (including stoops and gardens). There’s a map of where he’s surveyed houses, with about a third of the borough covered in 5,000 photographs.


“Eclectic Row, Briarwood, NY” (2017), from All the Queens Houses (photo by Rafael Herrin-Ferri, courtesy the Architectural League of New York)

“I have always been interested in houses and was impressed by how idiosyncratic — and unorthodox — the low-rise housing stock is,” Herrin-Ferri said. “They express the personal preferences and cultural backgrounds of their owners without much regard for what is ‘correct,’ marketable, or fashionable.”

Read more about it on Hyperallergic

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