“Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace Light Art Installation / James Turrell

“Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace Light Art Installation By James Turrell - 01
 “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace Light Art Installation  

A work by celebrated American artist James Turrell. This installation consists of a 28′ square viewing area, , enclosed by a grass berm and covered by an elevated, The interior space provides a rich, varied experience of the changing light conditions through the oculus. The installation serves as a music performance space for a limited number of people of people and opened to the public June 14, 2012.


Standing adjacent to the Shepherd School of Music on the Rice University campus, James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace has landed. The pyramidal structure accommodates 120 people on two levels and is acoustically engineered for musical performances and a laboratory for music school students. Constructed of grass, concrete, stone and composite steel, the structure is equipped with an LED light performance that projects onto the ceiling and through the 72-foot square knife-edge roof, which is open to the sky. Turrell’s composition of light complements the natural light present at sunrise and sunset, and transforms the Skyspace into a locale for experiencing beauty and reflective interaction with the surrounding campus and the natural world. “Twilight Epiphany” is made possible by Suzanne Deal Booth, member of the Rice Board of Trustees.


The skyspace, featuring a pyramidal grass berm 100 feet square and a 72-foot-square floating canopy roof, will be an immense structure capable of accommodating almost 150 people. It will include seating for 44 people in the ground-floor chamber, which is acoustically equipped for musical performances and laboratory space for music school students. Visitors will see an LED light show at sunrise and sunset reflecting around the uncovered roof aperture, which will be open to the sky.

“The installation will complement the natural light present at sunrise and sunset, and transform the James Turrell skyspace into a locale for contemplation and reflective interaction with the rest of the campus and the natural world,” said Rice Art Director Molly Hipp Hubbard. “It will serve as the anchor for Rice’s public artworks at the west end of campus and draw people to Rice to enjoy the many other works we have added over the past couple of years.”


For more than four decades, Turrell has used light and space to extend and enhance perception. His Rice Skyspace, one of his largest, is his 73rd worldwide. It is also the first to be engineered for acoustics, both for live performances and for electronic music. Turrell’s work has been the subject of more than 140 solo exhibitions worldwide since 1967. Since 1972, he has been transforming Roden Crater, a natural cinder volcano situated in Arizona’s Painted Desert, into a large-scale artwork.

His permanent installations are on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, Germany; and the Panza Collection in Varese, Italy, among others. In 2009, the James Turrell Museum officially opened at the Bodega Colomé in Salta, Argentina.

Turrell is the recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships. The artist has two other major projects in Houston: the Quaker Meetinghouse and “The Light Inside,” a site-specific, neon and ambiently lit interior installation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Turrell received his B.A. from Pomona College and his M.F.A. from the Claremont Graduate School, University of California at Irvine.

 Project Data  

Name: Twilight Epiphany
Location: Suzanne Deal Booth, Rice University, 6100 Main St, Houston, Texas 77251, United States
Type: Light Art, INSTALLATION, Art in Architecture, Art Exhibition
Total occupancy: 120
Pavilion size:

  • Floor Elevation: 48.125
  • Building Area: 5,184 sqf
  • Size of roof: 72’-0” x 72’-0”
  • Size of oculus: 14’-0” x 14’-0”
  • Pavilion enclosed, size: 77’-0” x 77’-0”
  • Pavilion plaza, size: 129’-0” x 129’-0”

Technique: Media – Skyspace, light and space
Project Year: 2012
Completion Year: June, 2012

 The people  

Client / Owner / Developer: Rice University
Artist: James Turrell, Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Architect:  Thomas Phifer and Partners
Construction team: Linbeck
Text Description: © Courtesy of Rice University, James Turrell
Images: ©  Rice University

 Location Map  

[map:https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208513009578745261626.0004c5d540fffc5e41d9b&msa=0&ll=29.716663,-95.403771&spn=0.011778,0.022724_map 450 325]

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