In the past few weeks, the fates of two classic Brutalist buildings by architect Marcel Breuer were determined – with differing results. For the Atlanta Central Library, it was good news, as the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to support the renovation of the building, saving it from the wrecking ball. Meanwhile, the American Press Institute in Reston, Virginia, was not so lucky, as Fairfax County’s board of supervisors voted to tear down the building to make room for a new a townhouse development project.
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 Richmond 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.
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.
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.
Steven Holl Architects have just unveiled Virginia Commonwealth University’s new Institute for Contemporary Art. 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.
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 Virginia Center for Architecture in Richmond, 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: http://www.virginiaarchitecture.org/ae_index.html
More images of the project after the break.
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 Chad Oppenheim 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.
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.
This week our Architecture City Guide heads to Richmond, Virginia. Admittedly, it was Richmond’s pair of Cinderellas in this year’s NCAA Tournament that first caught our attention. However, with our interest peaked, we spent the last week exploring its architecture and found much to be admired. Richmond is by far the smallest city we have featured; with only 200,000 residents, the next closest on our list is twice its size. Architecturally, this Cinderella city can compete in her own way with the architectural powerhouses we have previously featured. Richmond’s architectural appeal comes from the city’s ability to keep its rich historic fabric intact while experimenting with new modes of design. While the city strongly embraces the gritty manufacturing buildings of its past, Richmond has resisted the imitation trap and has promoted modern interpretations of the older forms and materials. The majority of the buildings we chose to feature are emblematic of Richmond architecture, rehab/addition projects. We couldn’t possibly fit all our favorites in our list of twelve, so please take a look and add ones that visitors should not miss in the comment section below.