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.
These galleries can be visited in sequence by taking an elevator to the top of the building and traveling down to the ground floor, or by visiting the ground floor gallery first and traveling upwards. Pivot doors on the first floor allow gallery receptions and other events to utilize the garden spaces of the exterior, as well as the interior.The building also includes a performance hall that can seat 247 people. Lisa Frieman, the director of the Institute, described the building as “the most important addition to the cultural landscape in this city in this century.”
As the ICA is a non-collecting institution, the Markel Center will host temporary exhibitions. The building is expected to be completed in 2016. Find out more about the Markel Center’s design here.