As lead artist, I was a member of the design team, which was comprised of representatives from city departments, the architectural team, the building contractor and subcontractors. This made it possible to identify opportunities for ‘artful interventions’ early in the planning and construction phases.
All of the twelve selected artists created site-specific art, dealing directly with this very public space and with our city’s aspirations to make the facility a model of sustainability and an example of the city’s green philosophy.
The city’s intention was to rehabilitate an 80+-year-old four-story brick structure on the edge of downtown and make it the city’s first green building project. The building was constructed as Houston’s first medical infirmary and then served as a rice warehouse. Today, the facility has a certified LEED gold rating and houses over 700 permitting and code enforcement employees as well as the Green Building Resource Center.
The City of Houston has a mandatory 1.75% of total construction costs set aside for civic art. For this particular project the budget was approximately $400,000. The charge was to select artists who would create ‘artful interventions in the functionality of the building.’ The art was to be urban and dynamic, to focus on reuse and recycling and to reflect Houston’s sense of place and its cultural diversity.
See these links for additional information about the project: