AIA Houston Historic Resources Committee Speaker Series w/Neil Patel, AIA

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January 27, 2022
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Brought to you by the Historic Resources

                                             Photo credit: Elizabeth Felicella, Courtesy of Architecture Research Office




Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022

Time: 6pm - 7:30pm

Location: Zoom / Virtual


Title: Renewal of the Rothko Chapel: Translating Mission into Architecture

Speaker: Neil Patel, AIA, Project Director, Architecture Research Office (ARO)

AIA Credit: 1.0 HSW/LU



John and Dominique de Menil founded the Rothko Chapel in 1971 as a place for spiritual enlightenment through art and as an institution dedicated to social engagement and action. For the renewal project, ARO began the design process with deep engagement with the history, legacy and mission of Rothko Chapel in order to create an experience consistent with the project’s first principles while expanding the reach and capabilities of the organization. A master plan focused on improving the visitor experience both inside and outside the chapel was developed to guide the project, which consists of two parts to further the Rothko Chapel’s mission and preserve its legacy into the future. The first involves the meticulous restoration of the Chapel and replacement of the central skylight to honor the original, unrealized intent of the space. The second creates a new, three-building campus and landscape to support the organization’s mission of outreach and social justice while being sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood context. From conceptual to detailed development of the project and through its execution, the guiding principles first defined at the outset of the project help inform decisions and ensure that the Chapel realizes Mark Rothko’s original vision and the expanded campus strengthens the Chapel’s mission for future generations.


Neil holds a B.Arch from the University of Texas at Austin. Neil joined the firm in 2008 and has worked on numerous ARO projects including Nippert Stadium’s West Pavilion at the University of Cincinnati, leading Tulane University’s Barbara Greenbaum House, Brown University’s Applied Math Building, and Ethical Culture Fieldston School’s Tate Library, Design Studios and Student Commons Renovations. He most recently led the renovation and Phase 1 campus expansion of the Rothko Chapel and the Bucks County Residence. He is currently overseeing renovations for Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and Phase II of the Rothko Chapel campus expansion.