Sited at the edge of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus in Richmond, Virginia, the new Institute for Contemporary Art links the University with the surrounding community. On the busiest intersection of Richmond at Broad and Belvidere Streets, the building forms a gateway to the University with an inviting sense of openness.
The city-facing entrance is formed by an intersection of the performance space and forum, adding a “Z” component to the “X-Y” movement of the intersection. The torsion of these intersecting bodies is joined by a “plane of the present” to the galleries in “forking time.”
The idea of “forking time” suggests that in the world of contemporary art there are many parallel times. The notion of one ongoing time and its “grand narrative” of history is questioned. The new Institute for Contemporary Art is organized in four galleries, each with a different character.
The exterior matte translucent glass and pre-weathered titanium zinc skin share the same greenish-grey tonality, giving the building a shifting presence, from monolithic opaque to multifarious translucent, depending on the light. The four rooftop gardens include a sculpture terrace on the second level for site-specific artist installations. The LEED Gold building is heated and cooled with geothermal wells, harvesting the same amount of energy during the winter to heat the building as it restores in the summer to cool the building.
With its inviting double-fronted forum opening to a serene sculpture garden, the 41,000 sq ft building provides spatial energy for the most important cutting-edge contemporary art exhibits. Propelled by VCU’s top-ranked School of the Arts, the ICA’s architecture is an instrument for exhibitions, film screenings, public lectures, performances, symposia, and community events, engaging the University, the city, and beyond.
Ecological Innovation +
Geothermal heating & cooling
Natural light galleries
Transparent glass cavity wall
Active slab conditioning with displacement air humidity control