Architecture Research Office Completes Houston’s Rothko Chapel Restoration

Commissioned by Dominique and John de Menil, and opened in 1971, Houston’s Rothko Chapel houses 14 paintings by abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. During the chapel’s development, Rothko proposed that the octagonal structure, designed by architect Philip Johnson (and then Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry after Johnson quit), feature a skylight. Rothko died before the building was complete and, to protect his work from the Texas sun, the skylight was obstructed. Now, thanks to an ambitious restoration by the Architecture Research Office and lighting experts George Sexton Associates, new light is shed upon the entire space—lifting weight and revealing the depth of the paintings—through a laminated-glass skylight. It draws inspiration from the one within the artist’s former carriage house on NYC’s Upper East Side. The skylight is only one (albeit very important) part of a broader plan for the interfaith social space, which reopens on 24 September with timed tickets. Read more at Architectural Digest.

Image courtesy of the Architecture Research Office