Take a house built in the 1940s, originally located in Santa Fe, Texas, and move it to Sam Houston Park, located on the west edge of downtown Houston, adjacent to Eleanor Tinsley Park.
(Santa Fe, Texas incidentally was the location of a school shooting in May of this year although that calamity has nothing to do with this art installation.)
Take apart the internal and outer structure of the house, like plumbing, and using industrial grade tools, drill holes large and small on its surface. Line the holes with PVC pipe insulation and you now have a house that looks like a piece of Swiss cheese.
The structure now called Open House sits with several other historical houses in Sam Houston Park that are maintained by the Heritage Society. Open House is the creation of the team of Dan Havel and Dean Ruck.
Havel Ruck Projects have graced the Houston area with inventive spaces for years, but perhaps the coolest was their 2005 installation Inversion, which took a couple of houses along Montrose Boulevard and made it appear as if a space and time portal had opened up in the form of a wormhole.
Havel and Ruck have a mission statement to “reorganize the physical construction of unremarkable spaces and places and transform then to create extraordinary visual experiences.”
Open House is part of Downtown Districts’ Art Blocks enterprises that extends the possibilities of “repurposing and reenergizing under-realized spaces” in the downtown Houston area.
The interior of Open House has specific holes that showcase Houston skyscrapers. Additionally the inside walls “are collaged with vintage images sourced from family, friends and local resale shops representing Houston’s people, places and past.” At night the house is lit from the inside creating a nighttime heliograph of sorts.
A good workout would be to park along Allen Parkway in its various parking lots or pull over parking spaces and walk along the perimeter to Sam Houston Park and back.
Havel and Ruck’s latest house dissection, “Open House,” is on view in Sam Houston Park from dawn until dusk through February 2019.