via Next American City | Power Meets the Arts in Detroit
The Power House is named for its ability to power itself through the generation of its own electricity and heat | © Mitch Cope
"Exemplifying ‘intelligent citizen interest and action’, Power House Productions (PHP) is working to help stabilize and revitalize their city – specifically in a Detroit neighborhood near Hamtramck - through the arts and other cultural endeavors.
Formed in 2009, PHP is run by architect and artist couple, Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope, and is a result of their own Power House project, which began back in 2008. Their work soon grew beyond one house to a point where, as is written on the PHP website, “it was necessary to establish a more structured organization”.
Located just around the corner from their residence, the Power House was a formerly foreclosed drug house that Reichert and Cope purchased for $1900. The home was one amongst several of a new crop of vacancies, as Reichert put it, that the couple took note of one year after the purchase of their residence in 2005. This, along with an arson, changed the feel of the neighborhood for them and pushed them to take action. “We started to be more active out of necessity,” said Reichert.
With minimal financial risk, the couple envisioned being able to implement their long-held interest in setting up an artist residency (throughout the years they had been hosting various artists in their own home and felt it was time to maintain a bit more privacy for themselves) and also their idea to “play with the space”, Reichert said.
The art and design duo coined the name Power House to describe the home’s ability to literally power itself through the generation of its own electricity and heat (via a solar power setup that includes a roof redesign implemented this past winter) as well as the home’s significance as “a kind of taking control of ones own community by becoming an example of self reliance, sustainability, and creative problem solving through education, communication and increased diversification of the neighborhood, ” as written on the PHP website…”