[Re]Construction House

The [Re]Construction House project focuses on the year-long renovation and activation of an abandoned house located at 5731 S. Lafayette Avenue in the heart of the Perry Ave Commons.

The project extends a partnership between the Smart Museum and Sweet Water Foundation that began in fall 2017 with Radical [Re]Constructions, an installation and residency that offered a physical and conceptual blueprint for the regeneration of the vacant structure.

At the outset, the rehabilitation of the house provides hands-on design-build learning projects for youth apprentices and mentors at Sweet Water Foundation. Over a year, the interior of the house will be deconstructed and rebuilt as a dynamic programmatic and live-work space for artists and SWF's humans-in-residence. The cumulative transformation of the [Re]Construction House will demonstrate the possibilities that emerge when people—artists and communities, individuals, and institutions—come together with a common purpose to revitalize spaces and each other. Beyond re-animating a building, this project has enabled Sweet Water and the Smart to further develop what promises enduring partnership grounded in shared values and an increasing structural connectivity.  

Related programming

As the house is built out, it will be activated with cultural and community programming produced in partnership between Sweet Water Foundation and the Smart. 

Juneteenth at the Commons
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Sweet Water Foundation, 5749 S. Perry Avenue
Sweet Water Foundation’s second annual celebration of freedom and community. Featuring free food, music, arts and crafts, community-building activities, and more.

Harvest Celebration
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Sweet Water Foundation, 5749 S. Perry Avenue
Tours of the [Re]Construction House will be offered during Sweet Water Foundation's annual Harvest Celebration. The event also includes hands-on art activities led by the Smart Museum's staff. 

ReRooting: Cultivating the Ecology of Place (ENST 26330)
Fall 2019
Emmanuel Pratt, Executive Director of Sweet Water Foundation, teaches a course at the University of Chicago that uses the Perry Ave Commons as "living laboratories," applying theories and concepts to laboratory exercises, field observation, case studies, and research on contemporary urban sustainability initiatives.


The [Re]Construction House project and related programming are made possible by the Joyce Foundation.