Client: Houston Downtown Management District
Location: Houston, TX, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $130,000
Havel Ruck Projects
Angie Bertinot - Director
Houston Downtown Management District
Cherry House Moving
“Open House” is a temporary public artwork located in downtown Houston’s historical Sam Houston Park. The work involved transporting a small house structure onto the park grounds and transforming it into a public sculpture.
The exterior walls are perforated with several circular holes of various sizes, creating a transparent screen. The interior walls of the house are covered with images of Houston’s past and 100's of vintage family photographs.
One of the main concepts behind much of what Havel Ruck Projects explores is the idea of revealing the hidden layers of structural history. Because of the historical nature of the “Open House” site, the opportunity arose to explore another type of historical layering.
Inside the house, the viewer will witness snapshots of Houston’s past with parts of it missing. The site, located between the historic Houston Preservation Society homes on display in the park and the dynamic skyline of downtown Houston. The openings act as peepholes to the present through the past. Viewers will be able to stroll through the house, translating the visual puzzle of early history while viewing the skyline of today’s Houston through the holes. By inviting the public to experience standing inside a house of holes, “Open House” hopes to bring awareness to saving our historic roots rather than discarding them to make way for the new.
At night, when the park is closed, the house lights up from within, acting as a humble architectural lantern next to the urban skyline.
The project was a commission from the Houston Downtown Management District and was part of their "Art Blocks" project managed by art consultants The Weingarten Group. "Art Blocks" is a program of temporary public artwork located in various areas of Downtown Houston. Havel Ruck Projects collaborated with the Downtown District staff and Houston Parks Dept. to design and construct the landscaping and entry ramp. The home was purchased from Cherry House Moving as well as moving the structure into the park. The final collaborator in all our work is the public. Their engagement with the space, along with the changing light of day, brings the work to life.