james turrell: twilight epiphany skyspace at rice university
original content
jun 28, 2012
james turrell: twilight epiphany skyspace at rice university


‘twilight epiphany’ skyspace at rice university by james turrell, 2012
all images courtesy of rice university

rice university has shared with designboom ‘twilight epiphany’ skyspace created for the institution by american artist james turrell. the pyramid-like sculpture,
architecturally devised by thomas phifer and partners, with linbeck as the contractor, interacts with both the rising and setting texan sun as a sequence 
of programed 
LED lights dance across the structure’s ceiling in sync with these particular moments of light which occur with earth’s constant state
of revolution
around the star. 

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. 


view into the building’s interior theater


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


picturing the square structure from one of its four corners


the opening of ‘twilight epiphany’


‘the turrell skyspace at rice university’ by rice university


project info:

architect: thomas phifer and partners
construction team: linbeck
floor elevation: 48.125’
building area: 5,184 square feet
size of lower viewing area (lva): 28’-0” x 28’-0”
number of in-wall speakers in lva: 12
width of upper viewing area (uva): 7’-0”
width of stairs to the uva: 3’-0”
number of seats in lva: 44
number of seats in uva: 76
total occupancy: 120
extent of berm in both directions: 118’-0”
berm angle: 19˚
height of portal: 7’-6”
width of portal: 5’-6”
height of berm/wall: 12’-0”
height to the underside of the roof: 21’-7”
height to the top of the roof: 24’-1”
height of alice pratt brown hall: 33’-4”
size of roof: 72’-0” x 72’-0”
size of oculus: 14’-0” x 14’-0”
distance from alice pratt brown hall: 92’-0”
distance from ctr. of skyspace to ctr. of pavilion: 1,200’-0”
pavilion enclosed, size: 77’-0” x 77’-0”
pavilion plaza, size: 129’-0” x 129’-0”

comments policy
LOG IN VIA
login with designboom
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

product library