Skyspace Ta Khut

Looking at the stars through Lasa marble

Inaugurated on November 20, 2021, the new "Skyspace" by US land artist James Turrell is located in Jose Ignacio, an upscale fishing village and seaside resort in Uruguay. It is the first free-standing “Skyspace” on South American soil and bears the name "Ta Khut". For the extraordinary light-space installation, measuring 9.44 m in diameter and 7.62 m high, 42 tons of pure white LASA marble were used.

The artistic structure is located on the grounds of the Posada Ayana hotel in the immediate vicinity of the famous Mansa beach in Jose Ignacio. The idea for this “Skyspace” by James Turrell came from the hotel owners Robert and Edda Kofler. For over two years, they worked with the US land-art artist James Turrell and his team to build and house the first freestanding “Skyspace” in South America.
Robert and Edda Kofler are huge aficionados (fans) of James Turrell’s light and space artworks around the world. The choice of name for the “Skyspace” fell on “Ta Khut”, meaning ”the light“ in old Egyptian.
“The first big pyramid in Egypt was also known by this name because it was covered by over 140,000 pieces of white granite”, emphasizes Robert Kofler, who also justifies the choice for the LASA marble with its connection to South Tyrol. Both of Robert Kofler's parents were born in South Tyrol and some of his family still live in Laas. He also spent many summers of his childhood in Lasa (Laas).
“It is amazing to have this wonderful connection to both of the worlds we love”, says Robert Kofler. “When James Turrell talked about materials for this project, he wanted to use a white stone or marble for the stupa.”
Lasa Marmo’s project manager Patrick Pritzi, who was responsible for the technical side of the project, adds: “Due to the small marble bricks, we were able to keep the waste to a minimum and make the best possible use of the material, which was very much in line with the client's sustainability concept.”
Turrell’s signature immersive light installation, carving out a 16-foot piece of the sky and framing it as a canvas with infinite depth, is set atop a 26 m rectangular temple-like structure clad in earth and grass with entrances to the dome opened on both sides. The Lapacho wood doors invite the viewer to come into the structure - paved in an earthy, merlot-coloured granite reminiscent of Turrell’s native Arizona - to experience the space of the sky that is no longer far and unattainable but brought close in touch with the viewer according to where they are sitting.
For James Turrell, the piece presents the merging of two great traditions. “You can see the pyramidal structure in the Gobi in China and in the Western Hemisphere in the Mayan culture and in Egypt. Merging with this, you can see the stupa, which actually comes from Tibet and carries through Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and up to Japan. I love the idea of bringing together the ephemeral and the physical through light as a medium and from the light outside and the light inside.”

Project information

José Ignacio, Uruguay 2021

Product: bricks

Volume: 312 m2

Surface: splitted surface, edges sawn

Architect: Alvaro Perez

Artist: James Turrell

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