One of the world’s most important modern religious spaces is getting a facelift. The 45-year-old Rothko Chapel—designed by famous abstract expressionist Mark Rothko alongside architects Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone, and Eugene Aubry—is in need of a host of infrastructure updates, including a new skylight, redone entrance, improved lighting, and a new master plan for the chapel’s campus.
The building’s interior houses 14 black paintings by Rothko hung in a meditative octagonal space. Commissioned by modern art collectors John and Dominique de Menil, the nondenominational chapel draws more than 90,000 visitors each year.
Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk—a sculpture on site dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.—has already been removed from the chapel’s courtyard fountain in preparation for conservation and updates.
The firm chosen to oversee the renovations? Architecture Research Office, the New York City-based practice that recently completed a renovation of American artist Donald Judd’s former home and studio at 101 Spring Street in Lower Manhattan.