The Rothko Chapel in Houston, a masterpiece of midcentury architecture, houses 14 panels by the revered artist Mark Rothko. But the Chapel is in need of some TLC, from fixing the HVAC system to improving the lighting. The New York-based office Architecture Research Office (ARO) has been selected to oversee the renovations.
In addition to bringing the mechanics of the Chapel up-to-date, ARO will retool the entrance vestibule and renovate the Chapel’s skylight. They will also design a master plan, which will include modifications to an outdoor plaza and a reflecting pool that contains the Barnett Newman sculpture “Broken Obelisk”. The master plan also includes several nearby bungalows.
ARO has a proven track record when it comes to light-weight, highly-sensitive restoration projects. Back in 2013, they renovated a 19th century cast-iron warehouse used by Donald Judd as his studio and home until his death in 1994. While extensive renovations were required, ARO updated the building with little visible changes.
“We are honored to be entrusted with work at the Rothko Chapel,” states Stephen Cassell, partner at ARO. “For more than 40 years, the Chapel has been a deeply moving experience of personal contemplation that furthers the Chapel’s mission of social action. We feel enormous responsibility toward its future.”