A House is a House is a House

(homes for the working class), 2016

A House is a House is a House (homes for the working class), 2016 graphite on paper, 12’x12’

This series of drawings was developed for the multi-disciplinary project (Re)Housing the American Dream - an ongoing community based, performative documentary project which started in 2015. This Milwaukee based project provides a collective forum for refugee and American born children to engage critically with their intersecting issues of immigration, segregation, housing, and happiness. 

In the early 20th century, Milwaukee became known for its “sewer socialism”: a pragmatic approach to reform based in cleaning up neighborhoods and factories with new sanitation systems, installing municipally owned water and power systems, improving education systems, and building public housing and community parks. In 1921, Milwaukee’s ‘Garden Homes’ became the first municipally built public housing project in the United States, reflecting these ideals. Looking into this socialist history of Milwaukee, and the city's current housing issues, Leenaars looked at the different architecture models that were developed to house the working-class people in Milwaukee in the 20th century and reimagined what these architectural structures might look like.