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As Stewart Brand states in his seminal book How Buildings Learn, “backyards are where the action is”. This is especially true in Queens, even though there is plenty of action at the front as well. Many of these alterations are visible from the open service alleys that course their way through the insides of the residential blocks. In many cases, these are alternate façades, reflecting the true character and lifestyle of their owners since the front is only what was inherited from the developer’s architect many decades prior. The village character of the original neighborhoods of the borough persists on this more “hidden” side. The scale is small and the materials among the most modest. There are patios, paths and pavilions that lead you back to the rear entrance of the house or allow you to convene with a neighbor. But the most charming aspect of these back-of-house structures is their open quality that expands the living environs to the outdoors.

Back of House


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