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

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.

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. 

Update: Institute for Contemporary Art / Steven Holl Architects

Institute for Contemporary Art / Steven Holl Architects. Photo by ArchDaily
Institute for Contemporary Art / Steven Holl Architects. 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. 

Update: Covington Farmers Market / design/buildLAB

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.

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

© Oppenheim Architecture + Design
© 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 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.

Institute for Contemporary Art / Holl + BCWH Architects

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

Nanjing Sifang Art Museum by Steven Holl Architects © Iwan Baan
Nanjing Sifang Art Museum by Steven Holl Architects © Iwan Baan

Steven Holl Architects were approved last week by the board of visitors’ finance committee to design a $19.3 million gallery at Virginia 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.

Architecture City Guide: Richmond

© Patrick Hummel
© Patrick Hummel

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. The Architecture City Guide: Richmond list and corresponding map after the break!

4 Mile Run Pedestrian-Cyclist Bridge Professional Competition

For years, Northern Virginia’s Four Mile Run has functioned as a flood control channel and a border between the City of Alexandria and Arlington County. More recently, growing community interest in revitalizing and celebrating the Run has resulted in the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan. The plan outlines a broad range of ambitious, feasible goals to restore the ecology of the Run while re-establishing it as a cherished park space and a means of stitching together communities.