Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA)
Steven Holl Architects
Sited at the edge of the Virginia Commonwealth
University campus in Richmond, Virginia, the new Institute for
Contemporary Art will link the University with the surrounding
Part exhibition and performance space, part lab and incubator, the ICA 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.
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.
We have designed the building to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that can illuminate the transformative possibilities of contemporary art./Steven Holl
The main entrance is formed by an intersection of the performance space and forum, adding a vertical "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.
Paved in bluestone gravel, the garden is planted with gingko
trees. A large reflecting pond of recycled water shapes the sense
of this garden as a "thinking field." Pivot doors allow opening
events to spill out into the garden.
The building is organized in four galleries, each with a
different character. that radiate out from the forum in forked
arms. Flexibility allows for four separate exhibitions, one
continuous exhibition, or combinations. Galleries can be closed for
installations without affecting the circulation to the others. As
flexible spaces, the galleries can accept suspended art or projects
anchored to the floor slab.
The 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.
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
Facts about Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA)
Total building area:
Estimated completion: 2015
Steven Holl, Chris McVoy
Robert Silman Associates
Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture
Convergent Technologies Design Group, Inc.
Last updated: January 14, 2013