The Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah is hosting a competition for a transformation of the “non-profit center for the arts in the heart of Park City’s historic and vibrant art community”. The list of architects competing to transform this cultural space is selective. Among them is Sparano + Mooney Architecture, an internationally recognized firm with offices in Park City, Utah and Los Angeles, California. The competition submissions for Stage II will be presented on February 2nd, but until then here is a preview of Sporano + Mooney’s Proposal!
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The design concept of Sparano + Mooney’s submission is the aspen tree, “one of the oldest (80,000 years) and largest (6,600) living organism on our planet”. Just as this tree nourishes the creatures of the Wasatch mountain range, so too, write Sparano + Mooney, will the Kimball Arts Center provide enrichment, support and growth for the “artists, arts educators, local residents and visitors within this transformed art center” of Park City. The transformation of the center within this proposal serves also to teach the community about sustainable practices, materials and the salvaging and recycling of our natural and unnatural habitat.
The program spaces grow out of the center’s foundation and are enveloped by a canopy of an etched high-performance glass photovoltaic screen that produces energy and gives the interior spaces a substantial amount of sunlight during the day. The screen is also a dynamic register that provides users with information, such as visualizations of the changing seasons or activity on the street. The interior surfaces of the programs are built out of aspen logs that have been killed by the bark beetles of Utah. The salvaging of these materials gives them a new use while serving as a memory of the log cabin and the connection to the Wasatch mountain range.
With this proposal, the Kimball Art Center will be a flexible and constantly transforming space, directed by the active use of its spaces. Sparano + Mooney write:
It will serve as a cultural center, a community center, an educational facility, an exhibition space, an event space and world stage, a workplace and a memorable place to visit either daily, during festival season, or just once in a lifetime…. The building offers a balance of education, exhibition and event spaces while providing a dialog between these programs through the layering of spaces and through materials and light. The lower level houses vibrant education and support spaces that include art studios for the community. [ via Kimball Art Center Companion Document / Sparano + Mooney Architects ]
The abundance of the different spaces allow for many events and programs to occur simultaneously, while also allowing studios and art spaces to transform, as needed into additional venues.
Sparano + Mooney also incorporate urban design elements to engage the activity already on the street. An entry plaza, cafe and lobby serve as a welcome to the community: an “urban living room” that flows directly from the street. The design also challenges public and private spaces. Passersby can walk through outdoor studio spaces to watch artists at work or see their completed projects. A projection screen also provides information about future events and programs. Care is also taken in maintaining the memory of the building that is to be replaced; Sparano + Mooney combine the original brick wall with the aspen logs and etched glass in the lobby space.
See the full presentation here.