Civic Art

Down Periscope

Fonde Totem Poles

New York artist Donald Lipski’s much-anticipated installation Down Periscope, which sits atop the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, opened to the public last month. Through Down Periscope, park visitors are able to peer into the 87,500-square-foot expanse, dubbed the Cistern, and its 25-foot tall, slender concrete columns that stand row-upon-row.

Commissioned by HAA in partnership with the City of Houston General Services Department and Department of Public Works and Engineering, the seven-foot Down Periscope is housed in a covered stainless steel arbor (soon to be covered in jasmine), creating a shady, welcoming space for experiencing the installation.

The site is a former City of Houston underground drinking water reservoir and has been renovated by Buffalo Bayou Partnership. The interior view of the Cistern is accessible online at, allowing the entire world to see inside a modern archeological treasure.