Steven Holl

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art . Virginia

+ Steven Holl . VCU . + archdaily

Sited at the corner of Belvidere and Broad Streets, the ICA will form a gateway between the University and the city, and serve as a catalyst for contemporary art on campus and throughout Richmond.

At the heart of the ICA will be an inviting, double-height "forum," a flexible space for both spontaneous encounters and planned events that intersects with the performance space at the corner and 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 will combine pre-weathered satin-finish zinc, and clear and translucent glass walls to create transparency with its urban setting and to bring natural light into the building during the day and radiate light at night, signaling the activities taking place within.

In advancement of VCU's commitment to science, technology, and environmental responsibility, the ICA's design incorporates many environmentally-friendly elements, making use of natural resources whenever possible. This includes the use of geothermal wells to provide heating and cooling energy for the building, green roofs to absorb storm water and maximize insulation, and glass walls designed to exhaust heat in the summer and harness it in the winter. The project is designed to meet LEED platinum certification standards. BCWH will serve as local architect of record in Richmond.

The ICA will serve as a cornerstone of Richmond's already vibrant arts community, joining the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia Opera, Barksdale Theatre, Richmond Ballet and the Richmond Symphony. VCUarts is one of the nation's leading arts schools, with distinguished alumni and noted artists on faculty across its more than 16 areas of study at campuses in Richmond and Qatar. VCU is also home to the Anderson Gallery, which for 35 years has organized and presented exhibitions, programs and publications that explore a broad range of currents in contemporary art and design.

A capital campaign is underway for the $32 million project, with $16M raised to date, including two lead gifts of $5M apiece from Kathie and Steve Markel and Pam and Bill Royall, who together chair the ICA's Campaign Committee. A director search is in process, and the university hopes to break ground in 2013.

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