Rothko Chapel announces restoration and campus enhancement

The Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, will close on March 4, 2019 until the end of 2019 as it undergoes a year-long renovation project. The Chapel is defined by its 14 spectacular Mark Rothko paintings. This represents the first step in the implementation of the Opening Spaces master plan for the Rothko Chapel which sees 100,000 visitors each year.

The Rothko Chapel will close on 4 March, 2019 until the end of 2019. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Rothko Chapel is one of the world’s most significant sacred spaces (alongside Matisse’s Chapel in the South of France or Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp Chapel also in France).

The Chapel was created to be a space for ecumenical and interfaith celebration and contemplation, as well as a place for community engagement on critical social issues.

David Leslie, Executive Director of the Rothko Chapel, reflected, “The Rothko Chapel is the result of John and Dominique de Menil’s philanthropy and care for the world. This project will carry that attitude into the future by restoring the sense of spirituality and contemplation to the Chapel itself and preserving the Rothko paintings, while also allowing us to convene community leaders and members of the public to wrestle with the questions of social justice and human rights. We have never had the room that we need to fulfill the duality of our mission. The Opening Spaces vision is not only about expanded spaces that can welcome more visitors to our campus, but one of richer experiences of the art, contemplation and the type of community engagement embedded in the Chapel’s mission that brings people together across the many boundaries that separate us.”

Preservation initiatives and upgrades to the daylighting design will ensure that Rothko’s extraordinary paintings and the space itself will be experienced as they were originally intended, an official statement said. Among the aspects of the renovation are removing the overhead baffle and replacing the central skylight to allow daylight to permeate the interior.

Image:  the Rothko Chapel in Houston © Architecture Research Office