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August 23, 2013
The tiny city of York, Alabama, is located a three hour drive west of Montgomery, near the Mississippi border. There, artist Matthew Mazzotta has created a project with the Coleman Center for the Arts, a local organization, that's part kinetic sculpture, part architecture, and part public outdoor theater. It's called Open House and it seeks to provide York's 3,000 residents with much-needed public space. What looks to be a typical gabled house unfolds to become a 100-seat outdoor arena.

Open House is located at 202 Main street in York, Alabama, between the city's post office and grocery store. The exterior reveals little of the 100-seat theater contained within.

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Mazzotta's concept was "to transform a blighted property—a private space that is negatively impacting public space—into a public space that would serve as common ground, a space for creative exploration and expression that would bond citizens together and forge a common identity," writes Shana Berger, Co-Director of the Coleman Center. Watch a video of the project below:

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An derelict abandon house once sat on the plot of land. Here's what it looked like before. With the help of locals, artist Matthew Mazzotta demolished the house, saving materials where he could. Once everything that could be salvaged was set aside, the fire department burned the remainder.

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The house unhinges and it becomes seating for 100 people. Day to day, the lot is a community park.

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It takes four people two hours to unfold the structure.

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Here's the house completely extended.

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A detail shot of the church pew–like benches.

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Mazzotta's work "evolves from an interest in exploring the relationship between people and their environments, as well as between each other." In Open House, he's created a clever way to foster stronger community ties and show the potential that vacant and underutilized lots possess.

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open house york alabama

Open House is located at 202 Main street in York, Alabama, between the city's post office and grocery store. The exterior reveals little of the 100-seat theater contained within.

Mazzotta's concept was "to transform a blighted property—a private space that is negatively impacting public space—into a public space that would serve as common ground, a space for creative exploration and expression that would bond citizens together and forge a common identity," writes Shana Berger, Co-Director of the Coleman Center. Watch a video of the project below:

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