Friday, January 27, 2012

Steven Holl Sneak Peek

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the C3 Breakfast Club event where Dean Joe Seipel of VCU's School of the Arts presented the schematic design for the new Institute for Contemporary Arts. The design is by Steven Holl and has been the subject of great anticipation by the Richmond design community, particularly since Richmond has few works of contemporary architecture by nationally-known, currently practicing architects. This particular project also seems destined to be a flashpoint for the perennial "modern versus traditional" and "what does contextual design mean" debates.

Because of its high profile and presumably because of anticipated controversy, VCU is carefully controlling the release of images of the new project, hiring a national PR firm to manage the process towards a spring roll out. Although Joe advanced the slides quickly, I did manage to make a few sketches of the schematic design. [I was briefly tempted to swipe the copy of the schematic design booklet that was available for viewing at the event, but decided it would be too much.]

Anyway, this is a sketch of the plan showing the corner of Belvidere and Broad. The basic mass of the building is a tall volume on the corner with lower bars extending to the west, splaying out to form a sheltered courtyard. The foreground of the tall volume on the corner is planned as a small plaza. The major materials are weathered zinc and glass, which appears to be channel glass in some areas.

This is a perspective sketch of the building from the corner.

What do you think?