Welcome to Open Architecture Houston! We are a volunteer non-profit organization that utilizes design to connect people and revitalize Houston communities. To find out about volunteer opportunities, projects, and how you can get involved please visit our local website here.


Since 2012, Open Architecture Houston has grown a volunteer network, hosted a pucha kucha event, participated in a hackathon, created a pop-up park for parking day, developed partnerships, and worked on community projects.


Here’s what people are saying they want for Houston: more shade… tiny houses… bike lanes /safety… more walkable streets… collaboration… more parks and trails for walks… better public transit… pedestrian friendly sidewalks… trains/rails/subways… shade… trees… community food… food everywhere… more community gardens… 10,000 farmers… more bees… more gardens… more community… food hub… more adaptive reuse…

  • 2.2 in Population
  • A Size of 600 sq miles
  • 22.9% Live in Poverty

Build with us!

Come out and support us. We are always happy to accept new Volunteers who are willing to help in our cause with construction and interior based projects.

Mercado de Northside

The Mercado de Northside Pop Up Tent Project design team is working with community partners to develop a pop up tent for a local arts market. Once the design is refined, we will work with community members to construct 10 of the portable tents. The tent canvases will then be painted by local artists. The tents will promote a memorable and cohesive face to the event while promoting local talent.

It was such a pleasure working with the Northside community. I think the most amazing aspect to the Mercado project is the ongoing and resilient effort the community has shown in both the design and implementation of the Mercado tent.

  • 23 Volunteers
  • 3 Community Partners
  • 200+ Community Members

Celebrating Houston's Amazing Street Art

Last year we paid tribute to the awesome art in Houston with a Social Media campaign.

Helping During a Disaster

Fast disasters reveal slow disasters. Moments of environmental catastrophe shed light on the systemic disinvestment from infrastructure, predatory insurance practices, and lack of public education and awareness around looming threats and safe responses. Hurricane Harvey, like Katrina, Rita and others before it, have shown our ignorance to the very real issues which threaten our most vulnerable communities, and eventually ripple to us all.

Plant it Forward Farms

Houston is the first demographically majority minority city the US. It is often the first place many refugees land when entering the the country. To better welcome people into the community, OAC Houston partnered with Plant It Forward to provide seating, storage, and shade for immigrant farmers who spend a great deal of time working in the harsh Texas sun.

Resiliency in Place

There is an abundance of critically useful information available to the residents of Houston. However, that information is largely indigestible and indecipherable and thus underutilized. Residents need to know how to access aid and react effectively to mitigate negative impacts (natural disasters, 

terrorism, crime, insufficient urban planning, insufficient disaster preparedness, environmental concerns, poor economic development, insufficient public safety resources, flood plains, etc.) happening in their environments. Opportunity: Create a platform where this information can be easily utilized and understood.

Examples of aid that could be made accessible through this app include: red cross, food shelters, department of public safety, evacuation routes, local shelters, local independent organizations, how and where to volunteer in the event of a disaster or on ongoing relief need, etc.

  • 12 Volunteers
  • 24 hours at a hackathon to develop the app prototype
  • 2.2 million Houstonians that can potentially benefit from this app

Harbach Ripley Outdoor Classroom

Open Architecture Houston is partnering with the Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center to design an outdoor classroom for students in the after-school program and charter school at the neighborhood center.

The Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center is dedicated to urban agriculture and health and wellness and is piloting an innovation program model that includes an urban farm, diverse market 

places (such as community food store and food cooperative program), health and fitness resources, and agricultural programming. The outdoor classroom will help educate the younger community members about the exciting initiatives taking place on site including growing food, composting, rain water harvesting, and ecology.

  • Neighborhood Built in 1959
  • 13,951 Square footage of building serving the neighborhood
  • 9.7 Acres of land used for the Sustainable Food Initiative

We are grateful for our partners: Lupher, LLC, Texas Professional Land Surveyors

Lupher, LLC Website

Harbach-Ripley Center Website