austere and monumental, the newly renovated rothko chapel reopens to the public

austere and monumental, the newly renovated rothko chapel reopens to the public

the rothko chapel, a celebrated sacred space originally built in 1971, reopens to the public after undergoing a comprehensive restoration. the undertaking makes up an early phase of a larger $30-million master plan entitled ‘opening spaces’ for its campus in houston, texas. the rothko chapel closed in march of 2019 to allow for this revitalization project that will more closely align the building with the original vision of mark rothko and john and dominique de menil, the chapel’s founders.

rothko chapel
images by elizabeth felicella

 

 

the rothko chapel restoration is just one part of the holistic ‘opening spaces’ master plan that will allow the chapel to better fulfill its dual mission — to offer a space for interfaith celebration and contemplation, and to foster community engagement on critical social issues. the master plan is designed and led by new york-based firm architecture research office which is overseeing both the restoration of the chapel — with lighting design firm george sexton associates — and the expansion of the campus, with landscape design by nelson byrd woltz. in undertaking the opening spaces campaign, the rothko chapel leadership has made an investment in the future and aims to preserve the legacy of the sacred space for future generations.

rothko chapel

 

 

listed on the national register of historic places, the rothko chapel is defined by its fourteen monumental mark rothko canvases. these works invite spiritual contemplation and engagement regardless of faith, spiritual or religious background. during the renovation of the chapel, the skylight, lighting design and entryway were reconfigured in concert with the original concept for the space, allowing for heightened illumination and an unimpeded interaction with the artwork.

rothko chapel

 

 

since its dedication in 1971, the rothko chapel has served as a spiritual space, a forum for world leaders, and a space for solitude and gathering. founded on a platform of radical inclusiveness far ahead of its time, the chapel has long operated at the vanguard of social justice, hosting colloquia for scholars and religious leaders from around the globe to engage in discussions on issues affecting human rights, and to work towards a culture of mutual understanding. the founding principles of the chapel have guided the ‘opening spaces’ project, with a view toward increased opportunities for spiritual growth and dialogue.

rothko chapel

rothko chapel 

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