Kimball Art Center / BIG

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In approaching the design for the new Kimball Art Center, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) found great inspiration in the urban development of Park City, the Kimball site, and the city’s mining heritage. They feel the form of the new Kimball Art Center emerges where these rich stories overlap. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

BIG was particularly moved when a long-time resident of Park City spoke nostalgically about the former Coalition Building, which once stood just south of the Kimball site. It stood 80 feet tall for 80 years as an iconic landmark for Park City and a monument to the mining heritage, until a fire tragically brought it down in 1982. They wanted to recreate some of its attributes in the new Kimball Art Center – not only the proportions and materiality but the history it represented.

Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Historically, timber was the primary construction material of the first miner settlers in Park City. Inside the mines, heavy timbers were stacked into retaining walls. The same technology inverted was applied outside the mines as primary structure for most residential construction. They conceived the new Kimball Art Center as an evolution of this construction technique basically a highly-evolved log cabin at an unprecedented scale.

Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

BIG found the most interesting challenge to be where the Kimball is situated in the urban context. At the intersection of the most socially active street – Main St – and a diagonal street that has become the gateway to the city – Heber Ave – the new Kimball needed to address both orientations. They solved this by essentially giving each street a gallery. The building footprint sits in relation to Main St and the city grid, then as it rises it turns to greet visitors entering the city via Heber Ave, creating an iconic yet contextual building at the city’s doorstep.

Architects: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
Location: Park City, Utah, United States
Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: Leon Rost
Team Members: Terrence Chew, Suemin Jeon, Chris Falla, Andreia Teixeira, Ho Kyung Lee
Collaborators: Nexus Architects, Dunn Associates, Van Boerum & Frank Associates, and Envision Engineering
Client: Kimball Art Center
Size: 2.800 m2, 30.000 sf

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Kimball Art Center / BIG" 03 Jan 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    a twisting building, fancy, fancy…
    “yes is more” is full of twisting buildings; is big running out of ideas?

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    So. They twisted this building just as they´ve twisted that Mosque thing in Tirana. They´re good.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    hi, looks fantastic… does anyone know what rendering software they used for this? looks amazing!

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Considering the noise and artifacts on the ceiling in the rendering featuring a couple of dancers, I would bet V-Ray with pretty low settings and a lot-lot-lot of PS post-processing.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    I really like the idea of using wood in this building and even if the twist isn’t a new concept I think its quite nice. I like how you can see the joints. I just wonder if they’ve actually thought at all about the size of that timber used in this building. It’s huge! Say good bye to a small forest of old trees..

    • Thumb up Thumb down +5

      They thought about the scale of wood. The intent is to use Trestlewood, which is wood reclaimed from long abandoned railroad tracks that stretched across the salty earth near the Great Salt Lake. The wood piles they used to support the tracks/trains were huge, and they have been marinating in salt water for more than a hundred years. This salty solution acts as a preservative for the wood.
      So no, a small forest of trees wouldn’t be decimated. It’s actually reclaimed wood from a local source.
      I think this project would be quite a beautiful addition to Park City, and Utah in general.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        I was wondering about the size of the timber myself, so if the reclaiming of wood from unused railroad tracks is true, I’m all for this project.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down -10

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This project is one of the best the firm have already done. The fact that the building is twisted doesn’t make it more or less authentic because it has a concept behind it that makes sense to me. Actually, the twisted structure in a lower building really seems to interact with the whole park city.

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