Queens Houses by Rafael Herrin-Ferri
An update to the previous journal entry titled “Queens Houses”, this collection of house portraits from the series All the Queens Houses further illustrates the incredible range of residential housing styles to be found in New York’s largest and most ethnically diverse borough: Queens. Architect/Artist Rafael Herrin-Ferri completed his block-by-block survey of the entire borough in late 2019. The desire for differentiation tempered by the economical restraints of New York’s overinflated construction costs is consistent across all of Queens’ neighborhoods. The juxtapositions can often be jarring – even in the few affluent sections that exist (Queens is solidly middle-class). Single-family “cottage-style” colonials stand next to multi-family contemporary “walk-ups”. Brightly colored paint schemes and material changes either explicitly delineate property lines or confuse them by accenting different architectural features across property lines, as is common in Tudor-style row houses. The variations appear to be endless. Popular concepts in North American communities such as aesthetic zoning and covenants seem a world away in the “World’s Borough”. A building vernacular does emerge however – one that is punctuated by bold transformations of basic house patterns and kitschy new construction playing off the rather hum-drum housing stock.