DeLuxe Theater Breakaway Sculptors: All They Want for Christmas Is Some 117 Siding

Demolition artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck — sculptors of the storied Inversion project on Montrose Blvd. and last year’s householing Give and Take — are back at work hacking old houses again. Their next victim will be a cottage house they’re rescuing from the lot behind the Fifth Ward’s DeLuxe Theater at 3300 Lyons Ave. (The cat-like facade of that theater — pictured above — will be used to front a new music-history library and performing arts center for the Fifth Ward, but the rest of the building and the small farm of cottages behind it are being torn down to make way for the new building and a parking lot.)

Havel reports Drake House Moving is scheduled to tote the rescued house today 3 blocks east along Lyons Ave., to an empty lot on Capron St. That’s where Havel and Ruck will get to work building and carving a temporary sculpture out of it that’s due to debut in May.

And they have a special request for Swamplot readers: Got any used 117 siding you could contribute to the project?

The problem is that we are in dire need of old siding from any tear down houses out there. Just don’t know how to find ’em. Tear downs are all over the Fifth, but it’s hard to find the O.K. to go in and salvage without owner’s consent. Don’t want to get shot

What do they want the siding for? Well, take a look at what they’re planning to do:


Havel and Ruck are calling their new project “Fifth Ward Jam,” after the many zydeco, blues, R&B, soul, and hip-hop jam sessions that have taken place in the DeLuxe Theater, the Club Matinee across the street (long since torn down), and throughout the Fifth Ward.

Writes Havel:

The model is a rough idea, but pretty much would give your readers an idea of what we are going to do. As always with our projects, things tend to change depending on the circumstances, but that’s pretty much it.

A little more detail from a press release:

The house will be sculpturally altered using basic wood framing construction with timber milled from fallen urban trees along with salvaged building materials. The serpentine structure, flowing from the house eastward along Lyons Ave. will organically bend and flow throughout the trees on the site, creating a twirling fence of recycled wood that will encircle a pocket park behind the house.

Adds Havel:

As you can see from original house image, we are looking, at least at the beginning of project, to match the original siding as much as possible. It is the old, thin slat style found on houses from 30’s, 40’s. But, like I said, any siding or thin slat wood would help. We need wood slats that can flex a bit.

Photos: Chris Adams (DeLuxe Theater), Havel Ruck Projects (models and house)

3 Comment

  • Hope they get to fulfill this vision.

  • The Deluxe Theater project is another restoration project that the Houston Public Library has been involved with.
    For all the flack that Houston gets for destroying its historic buildings, it should be recognized that HPL has in the last two years restored the Gregory School, now the African American Library; expanded and is restoring the Julia Ideson Building; and restored the Clayton Home, Carriage House, Guest House and gardens at the Clayton Library. All of these buildings are state/federal landmarked buildings – and all three are L.E.E.D certified.
    These projects represent more than $50M of investments in preserving Houston’s history and defining its future.
    HPL is also currently renovating and expanding two mid-century gems, the Oak Forest and Ring libraries. Both were once considered for demolition.
    There is good stuff happening in the city, we just don’t hear much about it.

  • I saw a pile of 117 siding sitting on the curb of Aurora St yesterday. I don’t remember what block it was, but it was near North Main.