The Kansas City Museum is working with Arizona-based artist James Turrell and Kansas City-based International Architects Atelier (IAA) to create a Skyspace on the Museum property. Slated to open by 2026, the Museum’s Skyspace is the first in Missouri or Kansas. The project is in the final design phase of completing construction documents, and more information on a groundbreaking date is forthcoming. Fundraising is ongoing. To contribute, contact Anna Marie Tutera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Turrell (b. 1943, Los Angeles, California), one of the most prolific artists of our time, has been recognized across the globe for his artistic and architectural contributions. Turrell has installed works in seventeen states in the USA and twenty-two countries. For more than 50 years, Turrell has worked directly with light and space to create artworks that engage viewers with the limits and wonder of human perception and reality. Turrell, an avid pilot who has logged over twelve thousand hours flying, considers the sky as his studio, material, and canvas.
To learn more about Turrell’s work including the Roden Crater, his magnum opus in the desert of northern Arizona, click here.
To learn more about the partnership between Turrell and Arizona State University to complete the Roden Crater, click here.
A Turrell Skyspace is a specifically proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky. Skyspaces are site-specific and can be autonomous structures or integrated into existing architecture. The aperture can be round, elliptical, or square. Viewers sit inside the chamber to observe the sky. A sequenced light program inside the Skyspace, designed by Turrell, interacts with the atmospheric light coming through the aperture in the ceiling to create a spectrum of colors and an immersive sensory experience particularly robust at dawn and dusk. There are more than 85 Skyspaces in the world.
The Kansas City Museum Skyspace will be its own independent 700 square-foot structure on the west side of the Kansas City Museum property. To create the Skyspace, the museum will repurpose the existing underground cooling tower structure—a concrete box that contains HVAC equipment which is being relocated. Visitors will enter the Skyspace through a walkway that descends into the chamber. Visitors will sit approximately 11-feet underground in the Skyspace chamber and view the sky through a square oculus with a retractable roof in the ceiling of a limestone structure approximately 14-feet above ground.
The Skyspace is being acoustically designed for programs and music performances to celebrate Kansas City’s music history and heritage. The Museum will host live music performances and work with musicians, music programs, and conservatories to create composed, recorded music. In 2017, Kansas City became a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Kansas City is the only UNESCO Creative City of Music in the United States.
Conversations with James Turrell about creating a Skyspace for the Kansas City Museum began in 2014. The Kansas City Museum’s Skyspace is yet another creative project that advances the mission, vision, and overall master plan for the Kansas City Museum property while honoring the museum’s history.
The Kansas City Museum’s Skyspace will be a meaningful, innovative way to honor the history of the museum’s former beloved planetarium and create a new, significant artwork and destination for our City and State. The Museum’s Skyspace will be a creative, restorative space for observation, perspective, reflection, and connection.
As the design stages progress, more information and renderings will be updated on the museum’s website.
The Kansas City Museum is actively fundraising for the design and construction of the James Turell Skyspace. To contribute to the Skyspace project, contact Anna Marie Tutera at email@example.com.