The Color Inside by Overland Partners & James Turrell

The Color Inside by Overland Partners & James Turrell

Interior Architecture and Design

The Color Inside is a milestone in The University of Texas at Austin’s Landmarks public art collection. Located on the roof of the Student Activity Center, the project arose from the student body’s desire for a peaceful retreat at the Student Activity Center (SAC).

The SAC serves as a highly active social and cultural center with amenities that include, amongst others, a ballroom, black box theater, auditorium, conference rooms, and offices for student organizations. Through an in-depth participatory design process, students played a pivotal role in defining the programmatic functions of the SAC and the role it would play on campus. As a result, internationally acclaimed artist James Turrell was commissioned to design a “Skyspace,” one of his renowned inhabitable artworks, in order to offer a space for quiet amidst the dynamic atmosphere of the SAC.

Turrell’s work challenges the traditional relationship between art as object and viewer. Through the manipulation of color and light, the installation radically alters the viewer’s perception of the sky, seemingly bringing it down to the plane of the viewer.

His work has no object, no physical presence; instead light and perception are his artistic media. As Turrell has said, “Light is not so much something that reveals as it is the revelation.” By drawing attention to the perceptual mechanisms at work in the act of seeing, he instills the awareness that subjective experience shapes our understanding of reality and the world around us. This perceptual process closely parallels those cultivated by many Eastern contemplative practices, and Turrell himself often likens his work to the Quaker practices of his own youth, in which the act of silent prayer is described as “going inside to greet the light.”

photos © Paul Bardagjy & Florian Holzherr




















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