Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) unveiled the design for a new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) designed by Steven Holl and Chris McVoy.
Part exhibition and performance space, part lab and incubator, the 38,000-sf building will feature a series of flexible programming spaces for the presentation of visual art, theater, music, dance and film by nationally and internationally recognized artists.
The facility also encompasses a 240-plus seat performance space, outdoor plazas, a sculpture garden, classrooms, a café and administrative offices. Scheduled to open in 2015, this non-collecting institution is designed to facilitate the way artists are working today by accommodating the increasing lack of barriers among different media and practices, mirroring the cross-disciplinary approach at VCU’s School of the Arts.
The ICA will feature dual entrances—one facing Richmond and the other fronting VCU’s campus.
At the heart of the building will be an inviting, double-height “forum,” a flexible space for both spontaneous encounters and planned events that connects to the ground-floor performance space and also opens to the sculpture garden and cafe. The galleries radiate out from the forum in forked arms, shaping the space of the garden. Large pivot doors open to the garden in order to create a seamless interplay between interior and exterior spaces. The open circulation serves to remove the formal protocols associated with entering traditional arts facilities. The three levels of galleries are linked through the open forum, allowing artists to create works that extend across, and visitors to circulate through, the spaces via a variety of paths.
The ICA's exterior walls of pre-weathered satin-finish zinc will complement its urban setting. Additional clear and translucent glass walls will create transparency, bringing natural light into the building during the day and radiating light at night, signaling the activities taking place within. BD+C