Contemporary artist Mark de Jong has been working on Swing House for more than three years. He has removed the interior walls and upper floors and built a swing right in the middle of the opened-up interior.
Swing House is located in Cincinnati’s Camp Washington neighborhood, inside a freestanding 1880s three-story brick building, with a narrow interior width of 15 feet, that is representative of much of Cincinnati’s 19th-century traditional residential architecture. With a blue exterior accented by tin ornamental designs, it fits nicely in the middle of the block-long Avon Place in Camp Washington, a street containing nine homes reasonably similar in size (plus an old warehouse).
The swing was made from reddish pine he salvaged from third floor joists and is attached by 30 feet of natural-fiber rope to the ceiling.
The swing represents freedom from architectural convention — it’s a radical departure from our expectations of everyday domesticity.
The wood furniture that de Jong made — sometimes from reused house material, sometimes from other sources — is an extension, rather than an interruption, of his art-house ethos. The modernist wood kitchen island contains a sink and burners, has a base that’s ever so slightly recessed, as if it’s disappearing before our eyes.
Red-pigmented plaster, signifying warmth, has been used to trace pathways between wall outlets and power switches.
De Jong has turned the basement into a gallery for smaller pieces of art inspired by, and/or reclaimed from, the project.
The outside of Swing House. Since the photo was taken, the home has been renovated with landscaping and other details that preserve the home’s original character.