A visit to Houston is sometimes a hard sell for out-of-town friends, but I have devised a go-to itinerary that highlights the city's merits: Meals out at a couple of hit restaurants, a walk to the Menil Collection, afternoon drinks at my favorite cafe or ice house and — the ringer — a sunset viewing of Twilight Epiphany.
It wins 'em over every time.
So it's no wonder that The Atlantic Cities and its affiliate, online architecture database Architizer, counted James Turrell's Rice University "skyspace" among the most talked about buildings of 2012.
The site-specific light installation is the 73rd in the artist's series, commissioned by the university for its centennial year. Set inside of what looks like a modernist ziggurat, the "skyspace" performs 40-minute sequences during dawn and dusk, LED lights reflecting off of a white ceiling and interacting with the sky through a square aperture.
As the colors change, the sky transitions through unexpected hues — and the overall experience is utterly absorbing.
Architizer's list, broken into typologies rather than ranked by number, also includes a Tokyo home designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects; the M Building in Paris, France; the Swanston Academic Building in Melbourne, Australia; a spherical corporate office in Barcelona; Galaxy SOHO, a commercial structure in Beijing; the MuséoParc in Alésia, France; the Nike Victory Camp in Eugene, Ore.; Wendy, a temporary pollution-neutralizing structure in the courtyard of MoMA Ps1; Singapore's Gardens at the Bay park; the China Central Television headquarters in Beijing; and the UFO-esque OCT Design Museum in Shenzhen, China.