The Austin Chronicle

Day Trips: Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, Houston

Light show accents the space between day and night

By Gerald E. McLeod, March 15, 2019, Columns

Twilight Epiphany Skyspace on the campus of Rice Univer­sity in Houston raises more questions than it gives answers. The soft lights of the immersive art piece by James Turrell lull you into an inner peace that sets the mind wandering.

Built behind the Music Building in 2012, the mound with a flat roof looks like a rectangular spaceship with a window in the roof that landed on spindly legs on a grassy hill. Beginning 10 minutes before sunset, or 40 minutes before sunrise, the underside of the Skyspace roof gradually cycles through a rainbow of colors as the sky transitions between day and night.

Is the roof the artist's idea of a frame for the splendor of a sunset or sunrise? Do we need a border to focus our attention on the flowing colors of the sky?

There are two viewing areas in the Skyspace, each with its own experience. From the upper seating area, the city's skyline fills the space between the ground and the roof. Sitting in the cavernous lower level of the Skyspace, you're looking up at the twilight sky as the ceiling with a large hole shifts from rose to blue. Is this what flying on a spaceship is like?

Twilight Epiphany Skyspace is near Rice Boulevard on the Rice University campus in Houston. Admission is free, but parking costs around $10. The twice-daily shows last 40 minutes. The structure is closed on Tuesdays. Reservations are not required, but can be made on the website. For more information, go to

This is the 73rd of a series of structures that Turrell has built around the world since the 1970s. Another Skyspace, The Color Inside, is on the UT-Austin campus.

1,441st in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.