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Zen Master James Turrell’s New Installation in Houston

June 29, 2012

‘twilight epiphany’ skyspace at rice university by james turrell, 2012

The Daily Show’s “moment of Zen” is a regular helping of the idiotic, absurd and just plain mind boggling.  Zen Master/artist James Turrell, by contrast, is a genius at creating transcendence.  His sky spaces are open air enclosed environments designed to control one’s perception of light, usually through a square oculus.  The sky itself becomes a colored object within a seemingly/paradoxically hermetic environment, except for the fact that it’s open sky.  He has created a new work for Rice University, recently published by design boom.

in the morning, the light show begins forty minutes before the first glimpse of sunlight, where in the evening, the display begins with the slow disappearance of the sun’s glow. ‘twilight epiphany’ joins in with the natural movement of light in its color alteration upon the building’s ceiling, which may be viewed from both in and outdoors and in a variety of weather conditions. the color of the sky will be complimented by those pictured upon the underside of the structure’s roof, though the most powerful views are said to be seen only from the interior of the space, as the brightening sky is famed by the brilliant shifting of shades belonging to ‘twilight epiphany’. during the hours of daylight, the structure remains open to the public so that visitors may wander through the central space of the installation, closing only for the night.
‘twilight epiphany’ is planted as a 12-foot-high and 72 x 72 foot white roof parallel to the grass berm just below which steeply rises from the flattened stretch of green near the university’s school of music. viewing areas have been built into both the upper and lower segments of the structure, offering a perspective from both locations which pictures the sky through a 14 x 14 foot opening in the square roof’s central space. the roof of the skyspace is formed ‘from engineered materials with a carbon-steel knife edge’, says the university. while the lower seating area is crafted from pink and grey texas granite from mable falls, seating belonging to the upper segment is a poured-concrete bench system.

the roof turns pink as the evening sky’s colors shift as well

view into the building’s interior theater

One Comment leave one →
  1. asummerago permalink
    July 22, 2012 11:05 AM

    I just saw this a couple of nights ago, was a total pleasure to see.

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