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
both in and outdoors and in a variety of weather conditions. the color of the sky will be complimented by those pictured upon the
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”

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