This Abandoned House Unfolds Into a Theater For 100

This red-sided house, rotting on a quiet street of York, Alabama, was once a symbol of the town’s struggle with blight. But over the past two years, with the help of the citizens who invited him there, artist Matthew Mazzotta has disassembled the abandoned structure and rebuilt it—as a tiny home that unfolds into an open-air theater. It’s like the circle of life, for architecture.

“It’s a house with a secret,” writes Mazzotta, who was invited down to do a piece in York by curators at York’s Coleman Center for the Arts back in 2011. According to Inhabitat, York has very few community meeting spaces—but a plentitude of abandoned properties—which served as the spark for Open House. Mazzotta and his collaborators have spent the last two yars engineering and fabricating a remarkable meeting space from the refuse of one of the most decrepit—a red-and-white slatted ranch home that was abandoned decades ago.

They began by carefully disassembling the home and clearing the land completely. Then, they built a new foundation out of railroad ties, which hold down rows of stadium seating neatly organized in five slotted sections. Each of those sections rests on a central hinge, which can be unfolded with a hand-winch in roughly 90 minutes. When it’s completely open, it can seat 100 people for community meetings, concerts, and screenings (Madagascar 3 was this weekend, if you’re interested).

Here's the old house, back in 2011:

This Abandoned House Unfolds Into a Theater For 100

And the new, compact shed built in its place:

This Abandoned House Unfolds Into a Theater For 100

When it's fully unfolded, it looks like this:

This Abandoned House Unfolds Into a Theater For 100

Mazzotta points out that, crucially, the house can’t be unfolded by one person alone—it takes a group, and that’s the whole idea. [Matthew Mazzotta via Inhabitat]

This Abandoned House Unfolds Into a Theater For 100

This Abandoned House Unfolds Into a Theater For 100

Images via Coleman Center for the Arts. Lead image by Nick Stango.