Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern: Spatial Chromointerference


Client: Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Location: Houston, TX, United States

Completion date: 2018

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Leigh McBurnett

Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Art Consultant

Lea Weingarten

Weingarten Art Group

Industry Resource

Sicardi Ayers Bacino

Sicardi Ayers Bacino Gallery

Industry Resource

Kelly O'Brien

Flying Carpet Creative


Carlos Cruz-Diez was commissioned to create an ephemeral and participatory work integrated into the architecture of the Buffalo Bayou Cistern. The objective being to radically change the experience of color. To achieve this vision thirty-two projectors were placed in the Cistern to project moving lattices of light on the columns, interior walls and on thirty, 4 foot cubes floating in the water. This aerial projection, reinforced by its reflection on the shallow pool of water on the Cistern floor, creates a space where color becomes not merely a visual object to see but a space to be experienced.


Unused for years, the 87,500-square-foot Buffalo Bayou Cistern includes 221 25-foot tall concrete columns set row upon row that are grandly reflected in a thin layer of water on the reservoir’s floor. BBP’s staff and designers immediately recognized the uniqueness and potential of the space as both an archeological curiosity and historical landmark. Carlos Cruz-Diez was commissioned to create a site-specific work to activate this unique space. His dazzling projection of continuously moving chromatic modules on the Cistern’s columns, walls and cubes floating in the shallow pool of water on the reservoir’s floor become an essential component of the artwork.


Buffalo Bayou Partnership partnered with the artist, the entire Atelier Cruz-Diez team, Sicardi Ayers Bacino Gallery, and the Weingarten Art Group to realize a unique and immersive experience within this iconic space.