Sited at the edge of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) links VCU with the surrounding community. On Richmond’s busiest intersection, the building forms an inviting campus gateway. The building has a double front: one side opens from the city, the other from the sculpture garden. The street 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. The ICA is organized in four galleries, each with a different character. Vertical movement along the “plane of the present” links the galleries, the performance space, sculpture garden, and Forum. Along this architectural promenade, the integration of all the building elements can be experienced in changing views. The exterior matte-translucent glass and pre-weathered titanium zinc skin share the same greenish-grey tonality, giving the building a shifting presence with the light, from monolithic opaque to multifarious translucent. The 240-seat performance space is designed for film, theater, dance and music performances. An overlook from the second floor galleries provides views between visual and performing arts. The LEED Gold-certified building is temperature regulated by 40 geothermal wells and has over 8,000 square feet of green roofs.


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