The Old House and the Watts House Project
In the second season of The Old House, a pair of urban-dwelling designers decide to take on an 1880s New England Cape in historic Concord, Massachusetts. The couple wants to update the interior and make the property more beautiful, while replicating the exterior architectural details of the era. The show focuses on remodeling and restoring historic homes, with a particular focus on the Victorian style. They will begin their project by replacing rotting roof and siding and replacing 1970s carpet with new materials.
The project, which began in 2011, is a multi-year national design initiative that tackles the triple challenges of affordability, design, and sustainability. It was founded by the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as a way to inspire future generations of architects and designers to think creatively about how to build a house that satisfies these challenges. The project provides resources for local councils and a network of local house projects to build new homes for young people leaving care.
The Watts House Project has partnered with many organizations and artists to transform the neighborhood. This includes Project Row Houses, which began in Houston, and the Watts House Project, which focuses on the neglected post-industrial area surrounding Watts Towers. The team involved Edgar Arceneaux in community organizing efforts and the development of a strategic plan. Arceneaux stayed on as a project manager and helped the organization improve its facades and become a nonprofit organization.
The New York Times reports that the people living in the projects go to work. Many of them run gray-market “plate lunch” businesses, while others operate beauty parlors. Public assistance and disability checks keep coming in. The housing project story is unique to the city. But it can be replicated throughout the world. For the past several years, New York’s housing projects have exhibited a high rate of homelessness. There are also many housing projects, but few are truly affordable.
Public housing is a type of affordable housing. It is built by public agencies and is meant for low or moderate-income families. It is often accompanied by a high level of construction. But it also includes reconstruction, alteration, and repair. In short, a housing project encompasses the planning, construction, and maintenance of a particular neighborhood. However, the project also considers environmental sustainability. In addition to its financial aspects, the house may also be a social housing complex.
The Brooklyn Eagle reports that the house in the photo was the site of a wedding in 1952. In fact, the couple intended to live in it until it was destroyed by fire. According to the Brownstoner, five more such locations in Gowanus are also slated for demolition. A 1930 photo of the neighborhood shows that the houses were more elaborate, but now they are in shambles. A former tenant said shells from gunfire had stuck in the ceiling ten times.