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James Turrell's South Space at the Roden Crater Project

Turrell's magnum opus artwork of creating celestial light chambers within a volcanic crater at the edge of the Painted Desert in Arizona has been under design and construction for over forty years.


When Turrell revisited the design of one of his unbuilt spaces, he requested the help of Flynn A&D for the firm's supple handling of complex curved surfaces. Flynn A&D worked with the artist to revise his design of the yantra, a centerpiece for calculating solar time, a reference to the design within the Jantar Mantar in Rajasthan, India. Turrell’s yantra eyepiece is focused on the North Star, allowing a viewer to feel the rotation of the earth over a period of night sky. The analemma, the sun's annual figure-eight pattern in the sky, was also mapped from the suspended central target onto the stone floor patterning through design software and astronomical coordination.


Flynn A&D further adjusted the siting of the structure within the crater's landscape, created 3D topography models to compare the cut & fill quantities, updated design drawings for the project architect, and produced the renderings shown above.


The renderings were part of the exhibition “Sooner Than Later, Roden Crater” at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, 2013.

Architect of record:
Art design architect:

Design, 2011/ 2019; Under construction, 2019

Flagstaff, AZ, USA

James Turrrell

Skystone Foundation

Paul D. Bustamante

Flynn A&D

Lawrence Wasserman, Lowell Observatory

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