New York City-based Architecture Research Office (ARO) has been selected to lead the renovation and master planning of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, the home of 14 monumental panels by artist Mark Rothko. The chapel's interior was designed to the artist's precise vision. ARO will seek to improve the Chapel’s interior lighting and its presentation of Rothko’s panels by renovating the skylight, the interior light baffle, and the electric lighting systems in collaboration with lighting designers from George Sexton Associates. According to a press release, the project will also include improvements to the HVAC system and acoustics, and the entry vestibule will be redone to better enhance the visitor experience, all while maintaining a close eye toward Rothko’s original intent for the space. The master planning portion will address the outdoor plaza and reflecting pool containing Barnett Newman’s sculpture Broken Obelisk, as well as several adjacent edifices. Given that the chapel’s neighboring institutions, the Menil Collection and the University of St. Thomas, are both undergoing extensive renovations, the plans for Rothko Chapel seek to elevate its visibility while maintaining its identity and function as a quiet sanctuary. ARO has a history of working with leading universities and cultural institutions and is the winner of the 2011 National Design Award for Architecture from the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.
Posts tagged with "George Sexton":
The architecture of Johnston Marklee's recently-unveiled Menil Drawing Institute has wowed most observers and critics, including our own. But an equally significant element of the $40 million project is its lighting, a combination of innovation and subtlety, natural and artificial light. Much of the lighting design will be about transition, since visitors will be transferring from the bright Texas sun, measuring about 18,000 foot candles, into a drawing-friendly environment measuring only about five foot candles. The scope begins outside the building, with slanted exterior plate steel rooflines that extend beyond the building, modulating outdoor light while also shifting the building from an institutional scale to a more intimate one. Aggregate concrete pavers on the ground are rough, less reflective, to create a more muted light. Inside, qualities of light "choreograph and orient you through the buildings," described Johnston Marklee principal Sharon Johnston. Light will react differently with varied surfaces, and in different settings. In the "living room," at the front of the building, light will be "volumetric," said lighting consultant George Sexton, combining vertical and horizontal lighting planes to provide more depth.When necessary, display rooms will have artificial light sources, which will be as inconspicuous as possible. But inside the study room natural light will be introduced via a sail cloth, which will allow for the perception of changing light conditions. "We wanted, in the tradition of The Menil, to use intelligent materials and to use the way light and architecture come together to create a wide range of experience but not through super elaborate means. We want it to have a very natural, elemental feeling about it," said Johnston.