Last week, we had the amazing opportunity to have a private tour of the Rain: Magdalena Fernández at The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Thank you Trudi! 😉
Neither Annie, Alex or I had been to The Cistern before, so we were very excited to visit it. First we saw The Cistern by itself without the Rain projection on it and Trudi told us the back story of the Cistern. The Cistern was built back in 1926 and used as a underground drinking water reservoir for fire suppression (water pressure) and drinking water storage. After an irreparable leak was discovered, the reservoir was decommissioned in 2007. It also seems to be the only architectural design of it’s nature here in Houston.
About The Cistern:
In 2010, the City of Houston was sourcing vendors to demolish the space where The Cistern is located, but little did they know they would“discovered” such an architectural work of art underground. After realizing its historical and architectural significance, Buffalo Bayou Partnership worked with the City of Houston to take over development and maintenance of the space.
With the help of grants, they were able to bring the space up to code, make it accessible to the public, and initiate an ambitious art program. It opened to the public in May 2016.
Thanks to a partnership between Buffalo Bayou Park and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), they were able to bring the Rain exhibition to life and make it the first exhibit at The Cistern. Rain, is an adaptation of Venezuelan artist, Magdalena Fernández’s Video Installation 2iPM009 from her series Mobile Paintings from 2009.
About the Rain Exhibition:
Magdalena Fernández adapted 2iPM009 for the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, to project the video onto the columns so that its imagery is reflected in the shallow pool of water on the Cistern floor. The abstract video is 1 minute and 56 seconds long and it evokes a rain- soaked night.
The soundtrack is an acoustic montage of sounds made by members of the a cappella Slovenian choir Pertuum Jazzile, who snap their fingers, slap their palms against their legs, and stamp their heels on wood to simulate the different sounds made by rain.
Be ready to immerse yourself “in the middle” of a rain storm!
Fun Facts about The Cistern:
- It was built in 1926 by Fretz Construction under contract from the City of Houston
- 87,500 square feet or the size of 1.5 football fields
- 221– 25-foot tall, slender concrete columns that span the space
- Holds 15 million gallons of water
- 8” thick concrete roof and 8-18” thick concrete sidewalls
- It makes a 17-second echo
- SWA Landscape Architect Kevin Shanley first called the reservoir “the Cistern” because it reminded him of the ancient Roman cisterns under Istanbul.
- In 2016, Buffalo Bayou Partnership opened the Cistern to the public offering tours highlighting the history and architecture of the space.
- Since opening in May 2016, more than 19,000 visitors have toured The Cistern.
- Rain: Magdalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern is the first art installation at the Cistern.
Don’t worry! you still have plenty of time to check out this awesome exhibition. It opened on December 10th, 2016 and will run until June 4th, 2017. Just make note that you MUST reserve your ticket online before coming. All tours are scheduled every 30 minutes.
The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern is located at 105 Sabine Street, Houston, Texas 77007
Wednesdays – Fridays: 3:30–7:00 PM
Saturdays & Sundays: 10:00 a.m.–7:00 PM
SCHEDULED TOURS ONLY. Available every 30 minutes.
Admission is $10 per person; $8 for seniors (65+ with ID), youth (9–17), and students (18+ with ID). Admission is FREE on Thursdays.
To purchase tickets: click here
*Children under the age of 9 are NOT allowed in the Cistern.
So grab your friends, BAE or your family and come check out this fun gem located in the heart ❤ of Houston.
Photos by: Alejandro Montoya
Post in partnership with Buffalo Bayou Park, all opinions are our own.
The Colorful Chronicle