In a March 1, 2005 lecture at the Rothko Chapel in
Houston, Texas, Phillip J.
Tabb, professor and head of the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University
will examine the characteristics and symbolic meanings of two architectural landmarks — the
Rothko Chapel and the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamps, France. The
presentation is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Revered for more than a half century, the Chapel
of Notre Dame du Haut, designed
by renowned architect Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the most important
examples of modern architecture. Perched on a commanding hill above the village
of Ronchamp, France, the chapel is a pilgrimage destination for devout Catholics
and architects alike. Recent research, Tabb says, indicates that the building
may be imbued with celestial programs that are played out in both the integral
Cubist art and the inspired architecture of the chapel itself.
The Rothko Chapel, inspired by and housing the paintings of American abstract
expressionist Mark Rothko, is viewed with equal affection. The structure celebrates
and embodies terrestrial, rather than celestial, moments that emanate a grounded
sense of quiet and inner focus. A modern meditative environment, the chapel
serves as an intimate sanctuary to thousands of visitors of every faith each
A design educator for 20 years, Tabb’s expertise lies in sustainable
community design and sacred organizational patterns. He has taught at numerous
institutions across the western United States, Nova Scotia and London. At the
college, Tabb is a founding fellow of the Sustainable Urbanism Certificate
Program and is a principal planner for the Serenbe communities near Atlanta,
Ga., which integrate sacred organizational field geometry with community planning.
Tabb is also a founding director of the Academy for Sacred Architectural Studies,
a non-profit corporation in Colorado focused on organizing a set of alternative
educational programs currently not available in conventional architectural
instructional settings. The focus of study is on the perennial wisdom found
in the world's major traditions, and how they embody sacred and archetypal
principles that can be integral to architecture and planning disciplines.
A practicing, registered architect for 25 years, Tabb has worked in his own
practice on numerous projects that integrated sacred concepts, such as the
Celestial Seasonings Herb Tea Headquarters Building, the Rolf Institute Headquarters
Building, and the Stetson Healing Studio.