Rothko Chapel and Visitors Center

2017-2020 | Houston TX

Client Rothko Chapel 
Architect Architecture Research Office
Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates
Awards 2022 AIA Houston, Design Award, Restoration/Renovation; 2022 Preservation Houston Martha Peterson Award; 2021 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award; 2020 AIA NY Merit Award

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominal space for spiritual contemplation. It was designed in 1971 by artist Mark Rothko in close collaboration with architects Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry. The space features fourteen original murals by Rothko. The Chapel renovation and campus expansion improves the visitor experience while preserving the unity of art and architecture within the Chapel.

Central to the renovation is a new skylight and baffle system that adjust the natural illumination of the chapel. Selective local stiffening of the existing steel roof structure supports the new skylight and mechanical systems. GNA also worked with IMEG to develop a procedure to reinforce the Chapel's original concrete masonry wall structure.

Three new buildings on the campus expand the Chapel's program to include a visitor's center, archival storage, administrative office and event spaces. The new structures are a combination of steel and mass timber elements designed for efficient spans and featuring elegant exposed connections.