VCU Breaks Ground on Steven Holl’s Institute of Contemporary Art

View of the ICA from the corner of Broad and Belvidere Streets. Image Courtesy of

Virginia Commonwealth University has officially broken ground this week on the Markel Center, the building that will house VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the Institute is sited at a busy intersection at the edge of the campus, and will serve as a gateway between city and university. Inspired by the metaphysical idea of multiple timelines occurring simultaneously, the building will have four galleries which can host individual exhibitions at the same time, or link up to host a single, unified show.

Video: design/buildLAB’s Reality Check

The design/buildLAB at the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design has recently released a new documentary by Leon Gerskovic titled Reality Check, a film that chronicles the journey of 16 students as they undergo the design and construction of their Masonic Amphitheatre in Clifton Forge, Virginia. The project was a complete redevelopment of a post-industrial brownfield into a public park and performance space; the video relates how students collaborated with local community and industry experts to bring meaningful architecture to this struggling American rail town.

Forest House / Kube Architecture

© Paul Burk

Architects: Kube Architecture
Location: , Virginia,
Structural Engineer: Stearns Engineering Company
Construction: MT Puskar
Year: 2009
Photographs: Paul Burk

Masonic Amphitheatre Project / design/buildLAB at Virginia Tech

© Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

Architects: design/buildLAB at VA Tech School of Architecture + Design
Location: Clifton Forge, Virginia 
Project Team: Tyler Atkins, Lauren Duda, Huy Duong, Derek Ellison, Megumi Ezure, Katherine Harpst, Kyle Lee, Leo Naegele, Margaret Nelson, Leah Schaffer, Ian Shelton, Brent Sikora, Emarie Skelton, Samantha Stephenson, Taylor Terrill, Samantha Yeh (All students of VA Tech). Along with Marie Zawistowski, Architecte DPLG (Professor of Practice); , Assoc. AIA, GC (Professor of Practice).
Year: 2011 – 2012
Photographs: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel / Fentress Architects

© Jason A. Knowles

Architects: Fentress Architects
Location: Quantico, ,
General Contractor: Forrester Construction
Electrical Engineer: Hankins & Anderson
Structural Engineer: Ammann + Whitney
Civil Engineer: Patton Harris Rust & Associates
Completion: September 2009
Size of Building: 2,276 square feet
Photographs: Jason A. Knowles,  Fentress Architects, Ken Paul, Ben Rasmussen


Update: Institute for Contemporary Art / Steven Holl Architects

Institute for Contemporary Art / . Photo by ArchDaily

Recently, we visited the Meulensteen gallery to hear an update on Steven Holl’s latest project in Virginia - the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.   Slated for completion in 2015, the project was presented in a series of Holl’s trademark watercolors and models, complete with a slideshow given by project architect Dimitra Tsachrelia who previously worked on the Glasgow School of Art for the firm.  As we shared earlier, the project’s formal gestures are a reaction to its site context along the busy intersection of Richmond at Broad and Belvidere, with the intention to create an open gateway with a building that forks in the X-Y direction to illustrate the “non-linear” path of art, and torques in the Z direction to shape a dynamic volume of circulation.   Although the weather was quite unforgiving, those who packed into the gallery enjoyed Tsachrelia’s friendly demeanor as she walked us through the process and progress of the project.

More about the event after the break. 

Becherer House / Robert M. Gurney Architect

© Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural

Architects: Robert M. Gurney Architect
Location: Albemarle County, , USA
Project Architect: Claire L. Andreas
Completed: November 2011
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural


Steven Holl Architects Unveils VCU Institute for Cotemporary Art at Meulensteen Gallery

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects have just unveiled Commonwealth University’s new . With an inviting sense of openness, the building will form a gateway into the University, linking the city of Richmond to the campus. A dynamic architectural promenade will connect the building’s most important spaces, engaging visitors in a variety of changing perspectives. Flexible spaces throughout the building will be capable of accommodating a vast assortment of exhibitions and performances.

Continue after the break for more images and the architect’s project description.

Lakefront Residence / Moore Architects

© Hoachlander Davis Photography

Architects: Moore Architects
Location: Falls church, , USA
Landscape Architect: Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture
General Contractor: GN Contracting
Size: 4900 sf
Project Year: 2011
Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography


VCU Adcenter (Brandcenter) / Clive Wilkinson Architects

© Creative Services, Allen T. Jones

Architect: Clive Wilkinson Architects
Location: 103 S. Jefferson Street, Richmond, , USA
Client: Virginia Commonwealth University
Project Area: 32,000 sqf
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: VCU Creative Services, Allen T. Jones

Update: Covington Farmers Market / design/buildLAB

© Jeff Goldberg/Esto
For those of you that enjoyed our post on the Covington Farmers Market you might enjoy visiting an exhibition that features Jeff Goldberg’s images and the students’ bass wood models of the project at The  Center for Architecture in , Virginia. The exhibition, ”Design 2011: A Retrospective of Winning Work”, will be held from October 20, 2011 – January 8, 2012.
Additionally, design/buildLAB  has been invited to give a lecture to coincide with the exhibit. The lecture, ”Teaching Practice”,  will be held at the Richmond Convention Center on Thursday November 3rd from 10:45-12:15. For more information visit:
More images of the project after the break.

Covington Farmers Market / design/buildLAB

© design/buildLAB

The Farmers Market was designed and built by design/buildLAB, a third year architecture studio at the Virginia Tech, School of Architecture + Design focused on the research, development and implementation of innovative construction methods and architectural designs. At design/buildLAB students collaborate with local communities and experts to develop concepts and propose solutions to real world problems. The goal of this course is to teach students the skills necessary to confront the design and realization of architecture projects, with a consciousness for social and environmental issues. By removing the abstraction from the making of architecture, the course engages students’ initiative and encourages them to ask fundamental questions about the nature of practice and the role of the architect. By framing the opportunity for architecture students to make a difference in the life of a community, the hope is to show them the positive impact Architecture can make and inspire them to high professional ethics.

Architect: design/buildLAB (Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design)
Location: Covington, Virginia, USA
Student Project Team: Anne Agan, Emily Angell, Zachary Britton, Chris Cromer, German Delgadillo, Chris Drudick, Cody Ellis, Jacob Geffert, Rachel Gresham, Shannon Hughes, Elizabeth Madden, Ryan McCloskey, Andrew McLaughlin, Brett Miller, Elizabeth Roop, Erin Sanchez, Sara Woolf
Professors: Marie Zawistowski, Architecte DPLG – Professor of Practice; , Assoc. AIA, GC – Professor of Practice
Structural Engineer: Draper Aden and Associates – Dave Spriggs, PE
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: design/buildLAB

Jacobson Carriage House / Robert Gurney Architect

© Hoachlander Davis Photography

Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Location: ,
Project Architect: Brian Tuskey, Associate AIA
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Hoachlander Davis Photography


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts / Rick Mather + SMBW

© Bilyana Dimitrova Photography

Architects: Rick Mather Architects, SMBW
Location: , Virginia,
Project Area: 9,300 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Bilyana Dimitrova Photography, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Tippy Tippens, Rick Mather Architects 


National Museum of the Marine Corps / Fentress Architects

© James P. Scholz

As the main focus of the 135-acre Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, The National Museum of the Marine Corps, just outside of Washington D.C., opened in 2006 to coincide with the Marine Corps’ 231st anniversary. The primary building of the Marine Corps Heritage Center contains 120,000 square feet of museum gallery space, an orientation theater, office space, gift shop, and two restaurants, all welcoming visitors to explore the history and values of the Corps.

Architect: Fentress Architects
Location: , Virginia, USA
Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: James P. Scholz, Ken Paul, Hedrich Blessing, Fentress Architects, Marine Corps and Marine Corps Heritage Foundation

In Progress: Pharrell Williams Resource Center / Oppenheim Architecture + Design


The Pharrell Williams Resource Center is a design that represents the future for youth centers.  The treehouse concepts aims to inspire future generations through architecture providing a place where kids can escape and imagine.  A unique combination of architect of Oppenheim Architecture + Design and musical impressario Pharrell Williams they are hoping that this youth center will set a new standard for the way the world builds for its future.  “We’re creating an environment to house creativity,” said Chad about his design. “Pharrell is a visionary renaissance man, and this center is a reflection of his passion for education and natural design sensibility.”  The PWRC is slated for completion by 2013.

Institute for Contemporary Art / Holl + BCWH Architects

Courtesy Mark Heitoff

Steven Holl Architects just shared the news that the firm has won the commission for the new Institute for Contemporary Art for Virginia Commonwealth University with BCWH Architects.  The 32,000 square-foot building will provide gallery spaces for traveling and school exhibits, classrooms, offices, art storage spaces and an auditorium, and accommodate a sculpture garden and a café.   Joseph H. Seipel, Dean of the VCU School of the Arts, exclaimed,  ”We are honored to have , internationally recognized as one the most inspired and significant architects of our time. With Holl leading this endeavor, I am confident the ICA is destined to become an iconic building for VCU and the city of and will find its place as a prominent example of Steven Holl’s contributions to the history of architecture.”   As the selection process was organized to find an architect-led team, and not a specific design, we will keep you posted on the progress of the project.

Steven Holl Architects to Design an Art Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University

Nanjing Sifang Art Museum by © Iwan Baan

Steven Holl Architects were approved last week by the board of visitors’ finance committee to design a $19.3 million gallery at Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia.

An existing surface parking lot on the east side of VCU’s campus will be transformed into the 32,000 sqf arts institute.  This will provide an opportunity to create a distinctive entrance into the campus from Broad and Belvidere streets.  The program for the  new gallery includes space for traveling exhibits and student exhibits, archival study area, offices, and an auditorium.