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14 Feb 2020
Rothko Chapel to reopen after Architecture Research Office renovation
By Stu Robarts
Rothko Chapel to reopen after Architecture Research Office renovation


The Rothko Chapel will reopen in Houston this June after a 14-month restoration project by Architecture Research Office that is part of a wider $30m (€28m, £23m) masterplan project the studio is carrying out.

Opened in 1971, the chapel was created as a place for interfaith worship and contemplation by its founders – artist Mark Rothko and John and Dominique de Menil – and has 14 huge Rothko canvases on display.

The Opening Spaces masterplan was conceived to allow the chapel to better serve ecumenical and interfaith celebration and contemplation, as well as to foster community engagement.

In addition to improving the visitor experience of the chapel and its grounds, the project will see the development of new experiences, programmes and educational offerings.

A new visitor welcome house will open in March, providing a gathering point for groups and tours, opportunities for educational interventions and an expanded gift shop and bookstore.

There will also be a newly developed administration and archives building, meditation garden and programme centre with an outdoor plaza, as well as a relocated and renovated guest house.

The chapel restoration, which began in March 2019, is intended to more closely align the building with the original vision of Rothko and de Menil.

Overhead baffles are being removed, the skylight replaced to increase the amount of natural light in the space and improvements made to its lighting with design by George Sexton Associates.

The building's entryway has also been reconfigured to be more in line with the original concept for the space.

Christopher Rothko, Opening Spaces Chairman reflects: "As we approach the reopening of the restored Chapel in the months leading up to our 50th anniversary, we have a truly momentous opportunity to celebrate all who contributed to the building, design and stewardship of the Rothko Chapel, while ensuring their legacy for the next 50 years and beyond.

"The Chapel was built with a vision that brought together modern art and a sacred space to promote human unity, solidarity, justice and peace. The universality of this vision is very relevant for us today and I believe will remain so for generations to come."

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