Art collector Evan Mirapaul paid the city of Pittsburgh $9,000 for the abandoned Troy Hill property now known as La Hütte Royal. From the outside, it looks like any ordinary working-class home. Inside, it is anything but.
The three-story house turned immersive art installation was inspired by the Naoshima Art House Project in Japan. Designed and developed by German artist Thorsten Brinkmann, La Hütte Royale is a high-concept gallery filled with abstract portraits, disturbing sculptures, claustrophobic passageways, fireplace crawlspaces, doors leading to nowhere, and psychedelic mood lighting. There are vintage salon dryer chairs in the attic and a hand-built boxing ring in the basement. Most rooms contain found art that mines the imagined memories of the home’s previous inhabitants—including a squatter deejay who left behind thousands of records. Touring the home is like wandering through the set of New York’s dreamlike Sleep No More. The main differences: There are no actors inside La Hütte Royale and you’re not allowed to touch anything.
To schedule an hour-long tour, email firstname.lastname@example.org and make it clear you’re here to see the art, not take selfies in a weirdo funhouse. Showings are limited to docent availability; appointment slots are currently offered Tuesdays and Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Thursdays between 6 and 8 p.m. No more than six guests are allowed in the work at any given time. Donations are not accepted, but our docent took tips.
Note: When we visited in 2016, a second art house was in the works nearby. Mirapaul tapped Polish artist Robert Kuśmirowski to spearhead the transformation. Ask for a status update when you go.
1812 Rialto St., Pittsburgh, PA; no phone.