Update, 3/24: BBP has updated the link to and language of the job posting; this story has been updated.
Wanted: Buffalo Bayou Partnership is seeking some
college types folks to show people around the long-empty city drinking water reservoir near the intersection of Sabine St. and Memorial Dr., which the group also hopes to turn into a temporary art space some day. The “accidental cathedral” was only accessible by a set of hatches and 14-foot ladders back when BBP first examined it; a $1.2-million grant is being used to bring the 87,200-sq.-ft. underground space up to code for visitors.
The cistern, nicknamed after the 6th-century reservoir beneath Istanbul, lies just north of the Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park beneath what will become a raised outdoor lawn intended for concerts and events at Buffalo Bayou Park. The 1927 reservoir was drained and decommissioned decades ago after it started leaking uncontrollably; the structure was planned for demolition and fill-in by the city around the time the park’s planners took an interest in the space, initially imagining uses like parking and mulch storage.
After seeing it, however, folks at the BBP thought the cavernous space’s unexpected visual appeal could be put to other uses — though they weren’t sure what uses, exactly, and there was no budget at the time. In 2013, SmartGeometrics created an eerie 3D flythrough of the space to help BBP and friends visualize the dark cavern and spur some ideas (or maybe even funding) for using the spot.
- Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern Attendant [Buffalo Bayou Partnership]
- The Water Works Underground “Cistern”: A Historic Houston Space with Enormous Potential [Buffalo Bayou Partnership]
- Gray: Buffalo Bayou’s dark secret [Houston Chronicle]
- Previously on Swamplot: Buffalo Bayou’s Abandoned Basement Now Ready To Be the Subject of Your Experiments; Flying Underground: Buffalo Bayou’s Abandoned Basement Skeleton in Creepy 3D!; Using Pictures To Picture Uses for Buffalo Bayou’s Basement, Poking Around in Buffalo Bayou’s Abandoned Basement
Photo: Buffalo Bayou Partnership