A New Campus for the Rothko Chapel

The renewal of the Rothko Chapel building realizes Mark Rothko’s original vision and the expansion of its campus strengthens the Chapel’s mission of social action.

The south campus is comprised of the Chapel, plaza and Broken Obelisk, as well as a new surrounding landscape.

The design challenge was two-fold: to restore the sense of awe that visitors experience in the presence of Mark Rothko’s fourteen monumental paintings; and to create a new campus which is grounded in both the singular power of the Chapel and the unique character of the neighborhood without overwhelming them.

animation of original chapel interior and skylight, existing chapel interior and skylight, and proposed chapel interior and skylight
The new Chapel renovation restores Rothko’s original intent for daylighting the interior space by replacing the central skylight with a new skylight featuring a custom light-diffusing assembly.
section cut of the restored Rothko Chapel
In addition to the skylight replacement, the Chapel renovation also reconfigures the entry and improves acoustics throughout the space.
  • axonometric site plan of proposed Rothko Chapel campus cut through the chapel and program center interior
    The phased campus expansion reorients the visitor sequence with a journey through a new landscape that prepares the visitor for the intense experience within the Chapel.
  • axonometric site plan of existing Rothko Chapel
    Original conditions.
  • Completed Phase I new campus.
    Completed Phase I new campus.
  • axonometric site plan of proposed Rothko Chapel campus
    Proposed Phase II campus expansion.
Rothko Chapel Suzanne Deal Booth Welcome House
The Suzanne Deal Booth Welcome House.
A direct path leads from the Chapel to the north campus. A shaded porch greets visitors at the Suzanne Deal Booth Welcome House. Walls of brick and glass signify its public function and relationship to the Rothko Chapel.
New Rothko Chapel campus and Suzanne Deal Booth Welcome House beyond.

Connected to the Chapel grounds across Sul Ross Street, a new north campus is an ensemble including the Suzanne Deal Booth Welcome House (Phase I), Program Center, Archive and Office building, Energy House (Phase I) and relocated guest house. While the chapel is intended for introspection as a sanctuary for contemplation, the new campus is designed to invite the outside world in, supporting the institution’s call to social action.

  • Integrated into the residential scale of the neighborhood, the new north campus buildings reference the scale and institutional quality of the Chapel.
  • The north campus is organized around a public courtyard, which extends the interior program spaces.
  • visitors view presentation in the program center
    The Program Center supports the Rothko Chapel’s expanding public programming by reducing the frequency of events in the Chapel, strengthening the visitor experience. The large glazed wall provides a public face to the community and allows events to open onto the courtyard.
  • night elevation of the south façade
    Large glazed portions of the south facade of the Suzanne Deal Booth Welcome House and Program Center, shaded by a trellis and wood screen, provide an open, inviting face to the public.

The project is targeting LEEDv4 certification.

Lighting Designer: George Sexton Associates
Landscape Architect: Nelson Byrd Woltz