Lara Almarceui, Buried House, 2013
Oak Cliff Gardens
The buried remains of a house offered an opportunity for reflection on the transition and rebirth of one of Dallas’s oldest neighborhoods: Oak Cliff Gardens.
Almarcegui’s project for Nasher XChange, entitled Buried House, involved working with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity on a house in Southeast Dallas already slated for demolition. After the demolition finished, the artist buried the house’s remains on the property, creating a sort of memorial site that retained the building’s actual substance and provided a “free space” for reflection on the neighborhood’s past, present and future.
Almarcegui worked in Oak Cliff Gardens, a neighborhood in East Oak Cliff, with a history almost as old as Dallas itself. Near the site of the first stop for stagecoaches headed out of Dallas for Central Texas, the area that surrounded the intersection at Lancaster and Ann Arbor roads became the small town of Lisbon, which was in turn annexed by the city in 1929.
At the time, Oak Cliff Gardens was a neighborhood in transition. Many derelict, often vacant, homes underwent renovations, thanks to the help of organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. These “wastelands” in the neighborhood embodied a significant historical moment of possibility. Almarcegui hoped to draw attention to this area and make people in Dallas aware of its rich and varied character, before it was changed forever.