James Turrell purchased land where this 400,000 year old crater sits near Flagstaff, Arizona called Roden Crater. He has spent over 30 years constructing his “naked-eye observatory”, with underground access through chambers and tunnels below the surface of the crater. He received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Dia Art Foundation and others to fund his project. His intention is to view “light as a physical presence, a material in its own right, not just something that illuminates the rest of the world”. Visitors will be viewing the light through 2 large portals toward the sky, or watching the light gather into the chambers beneath the crater transforming them into visual wonders. One chamber has a huge slab of white marble, with the intent being to provide a white surface beneath the earth to view full images of the sun and moon. With its skyward portals, it will serve as a place to observe celestial happenings for thousands of years in the future. The Roden Crater has plans to open in 2012.
View an interview with James Turrell on PBS.