Prototype 180: The Great Sharpstown Turnaround Has Begun

Spun around 180 degrees on its site yesterday: the 1,304 sq.-ft. Ranch house at 6513 Sharpview, before a small crowd gathered at Bayland Park next door and an online audience following the live-streaming cameras mounted to the long-vacant 1960 structure. Conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll‘s big house-twisting exercise was 10 years in the making. A reader sends in this report from the muddy field:

I missed the talks . . . but was there from about 11:30 ’till when they finished for the day at 2:30. What happened was they backed the house off the site, turned it perpendicular onto Sharpcrest, and then there was this great moment when the house was moving laterally along the street, and then they backed it in towards us (we were at the back of the lot, on the lot line that faces Bayland Park).

. . . The group seemed about evenly divided between architecture folks, including at one point Rice Architecture dean Sarah Whiting, art crowd types (Molly Gochman, Arturo Palacios), and the many friends MEC has made during her time in Houston due to her being such a nice person. A healthy handful of neighbors milled about, including this woman who stood on her roof with a cup of coffee, who at one point went inside and got an umbrella when it started raining.

Our correspondent also apparently missed some very hot Mexican food: Hometta blogger Jenny Staff Johnson reports a taco truck hired to cater the event caught on fire.


The house rotation was originally scheduled for October, but had to be postponed: The original slab cracked when workers from Cherry House Moving lifted it onto the flatbed. But Carroll isn’t just flipping the house; she’s flipping around the entire lot: The new landscape plan will be the reverse of what was there before.

The house now faces Bayland Park, which used to be beyond the backyard fence. Up next: retrofitting and rehabbing the house with several newfangled building materials in its new site. Carroll wants the fixed-up structure to become a laboratory for “innovative building and communication technologies and cultural programming.” She hopes the turnaround will also reorient the way people think about the neighborhood.

Photos: Jenny Staff Johnson, Hometta. Video: Rice University

12 Comment

  • I wish they had announced the big turnaround to people in the surrounding neighborhoods. I didn’t know about it until I saw it here on Swamplot. I would have liked to swing by and watch it happen.

  • Just to let yall know the actual address is 6502 Sharpview not 6513 sharpcrest, I live in the neighborhood so I know.

  • Wow I can’t believe what I’m seeing. I sold a home just around the corner. I really like this neighborhood. It’s in a great location and prices are still relatively cheap. The people are really nice too. Great article And Pics.

  • Oh and as a long time resident of the neighborhood I am ecstatic! That house specifically has been an eye sore for ages!

  • ignore my comment about the address it is actualy 6513 Sharpview Drive, Houston, TX 77074

    not 6513 sharpcrest

  • I’ll have to check this out next time I’m playing soccer on that field.

  • Really, who cares?

    As demonstrated by the number of comments here.

  • Back in the early 50s, my grandfather (also an artist) did the very same thing with a house he bought in suburban Chicago. At the time it was notable enough to earn a story in Better Homes & Gardens. If he were around today, Im sure he’d be enjoying this, especially the thought of live-streaming cameras recording/broadcasting the event.

  • I’m honestly confused. Can someone explain to me how turning a house around does anything? Is the point supposed to be that we should have front yards instead of back yards? I read the 180 website… but I’m confused as to how flipping the direction something faces will change building standards. “Plumbing, heating, and electricity are all closed systems, obscured behind walls, and carefully
    hidden from fresh thinking
    ” So does she want to have the plumbing from the toilet run through the living room?

  • I agree with Really. Really??

  • Is this what passes for art these days?
    Then I’m proud to be a boor…

  • Look at me! Look at me!