This project fascinates me for many reasons. I believe that it is a clear example of how art can bring life back to a space. But at the same time, I understand that art can’t do this on its own. I think that the reason why I find this project so attractive is because it succeeded in combining social/community work, history, architecture, education, art and sustainability. It is not so straightforward to think about a project that includes all of these variables, and Project Row Houses not only did it, but also with amazing outcomes.
Many times I reflect about my own practice on how to think about a project that can somehow be informed by -at least a combination of some of- the different -and apparently diverse- areas that I have been working on. How can we think about a project that involves history and architecture, but at the same time, includes the community? How can we think of an inclusive initiative that considers art and architecture? The answer, in this particular case, is thinking about all these issues together. Considering every aspect and creating a macro-idea.
In this sense, the idea of having a general framework and particular guidelines can be very helpful. The Project Row Houses is divided into Art and Creativity, Education, Social Safety Nets, Architecture and Sustainability. And even though each of these principles contains its own particular projects, they all fuel the macro-objective. I understand that each of these principles could of course work as specific individual initiatives on their own. But the results obtained when they work together, toward a common end, are strengthened by that same inter-relation. While thinking about this project, I cannot stop thinking about the notion of rhizome.
The Project Row Houses also makes me return to a question that I tend to ask myself: is art enough? I believe that art can be very powerful, in many different ways. But what happens when some people are denied of basic human rights? Is it possible to generate a change without a holistic approach -as in the Project Row Houses- in these cases? If it is, how?