Architecture for 99¢ a Minute


All images via Power house Project

I first heard of Gina Reichert & Mitch Cope from the New York Times article on The Move to Detroit for the $100 House. I heard from them when they commented on Architecture 5¢ Becomes A Movement and a Lightning Rod; they think it is a good idea. In fact, they do their own version, a little more high end- 99¢ a minute!

Their philosophy:

We believe that contemporary architecture and design is not reserved for a select audience. By locating our design practice within a retail storefront environment, we hope to create an open dialogue with the general public.

Our design services are also available for reasonable fees and short-term assignment. Rates start at just 99¢ a minute! And our $99 house call special offers custom design consultations for less than a trip to the mechanic.


Their main gig these days appears to be dealing with the press about the Power House project that followed the New York Times article.

It started with the goal of showing that Detroit housing stock could be made sustainable. They started with a house and two lots that they bought for a grand total of $4,900 last year.


The Power House intends to prove that it is possible to take advantage of the housing crisis and produce super efficient, self-sustaining homes all for under $99,000. By taking advantage of today’s housing crisis, the Power House Project can become a model for rethinking the city’s aged housing stock which is rundown, undervalued, and ill-equipped for its climate.The Power house Project is first and foremost designed to stimulate communication and action within an otherwise challenging, albeit unique Detroit neighborhood by way of mining out the existing positive and productive aspects of the neighborhood.

Now they are being overwhelmed with people who want to move to Detroit, so much so that they have had to add a caveat:

To those who are not familiar with this fine city it must be noted that Detroit is a particular kind of place that demands utmost respect and attention, sort of like lion taming: it is not for everyone and it is not easy. Detroit is a beautiful, strong and passionate city, but it is also unpredictable and aggressive and therefore must be handled with the proper tools and caution.

But they note that there is room for two million more people in Detroit, and that the place is not dead yet, that there are "there are many active and well-deserving organizations across the city doing amazing work" which we will cover soon.

These are tough times for anyone, tougher still for a firm trying to make a living rebuilding Detroit. Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope and their firm are another light at the end of the tunnel, what we need if we are going to dig ourselves out of this crisis.

More information at Design 99 and Power House Project
More on Detroit:
School's Out Forever in Detroit
The Move to Detroit for the $100 House
Detroit Charity Turns Wasteland into Farms
How Long Until The Rust Belt Becomes The Life Belt?
More Lights at the end of the tunnel:
Cool Green Job Watch: Serious Materials Reopens Factory
Light at End of Tunnel Dept: Landscape Architects Designing Chicken Coops
Cool Green Job Watch: Green Renovations

Tags: Architects | Detroit | Housing Industry

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