On June 14th, the Turrell Skyspace opened to the public at Rice University in Houston Texas. The university commissioned James Turrell to design and execute a space on the campus grounds. Turrell is an American artist and designer whose other works have concentrated on light and the magic that it can create in open blank spaces. Since 1966 Turrell has created amazing exhibits throughout the nation and in 1970 began his series of 'skyspaces' which have been done in over 25 countries and now Houston Texas has one of its own.
Turrell Skyspace at Rice University, a set on Flickr.
The show is conducted twice daily, one at sunrise and another at sunset. The space allows for 120 people to attend each show. There are two levels in which one can see the LED show. The lower level has a bit more a dramatic viewpoint and seats 44 people, while the upper level has amazing views of the medical center and of the campus along with the lightshow. What is cool about the lower level is that you can lay on the ground and look up towards the square gap in the ceiling and have a great vantage point to see the light shows progression. The LED sequence that is produced during the show progresses from deep hues and light playful notes and works with the natural sunrise/sunset lighting to produce an effect that truly must be viewed to appreciate. What was really interesting is how the juxtaposition of colors that are projected on the blank white walls and ceiling make your eye view the sky in different colors that you'd normally would expect. For example, at one point the yellow light that engulfed the space made the sky, which is visible through the center gap, seem almost a deep green reminiscent of the ocean, even though it was about 9:00pm.
Each day the show is performed at a different time, depending on the sunrise and sunset, and seats can be reserved through the Rice website. While you can reserve your seats, 2 tickets max, there really was no need when I got the chance to check it out the show. The show in itself was impressive, what was slightly disappointing was how distracting the people attending were. It seemed almost every group was carrying on loud conversations during the showing. It would have been nice if the guide, who only speaks at the beginning of the show, would have suggested people to keep their volumes down on top of the rule they have of no flash photography. Overall the Turrell Skyspace light show was a great peaceful space to visit and a major acquisition by Rice University.