The highly anticipated “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace, designed by American artist James Turrell, will open to the public today with a sunset light show. The abstract pyramidal structure complements the natural light present at sunrise and sunset, creating a mesmerizing light show that connects the beauty of the natural world with the surrounding campus. This experience is enhanced by an LED light performance that projects onto the 72-by-72-foot thin white roof, which offers views to the sky through a 14-by-14-foot opening. Additionally, the Turrell Skyspace is acoustically engineered for musical performances and serves as a laboratory for music school students, as it stands adjacent to the Shepher School of Music on the Rice University campus in Houston, Texas.
David Leebron, Rice University President: “The campus has to play its role in inspiring our students.”
Continue after the break to watch a sneak preview of the Turrell Skyspace light show.
Thomas Phifer and Partners served as the architect for the skyspace, and Linbeck was the contractor. The roof is a composition of several specifically engineered materials with a carbon-steel knife edge. The seating area on the lower level is made of pink and gray Texas granite from Marble Falls; on the upper level, poured-concrete benches provide seating. A sequence of LED lights installed in the upper level is programmed to create the light show on the ceiling in sync with sunset and sunrise. The show lasts about 40 minutes, and the light program can operate in a variety of weather conditions.
Rice has the first Turrell skyspace to be engineered for acoustics. Twelve state-of-the-art speakers are “hidden” in the plaster walls. Although music will not be played during the sunset and sunrise light shows, Turrell is creating additional light shows for use by the Shepherd School for live performances as well as for use by students who participate in the Rice Electroacoustic Music Labs.
Although Thursday’s Opening is completely reserved, you may enjoy the light show from the grass courtyard or reserve your free tickets for Friday’s sunset light show. There are only a few openings left, so be sure to reserve them quickly. Find more information here.
Reference: Rice University