Text description provided by the architects. Ruby City is a 14,000-square-foot contemporary art center, with 10,000- square feet of exhibition space, in San Antonio, TX, dedicated to providing a space for the city’s thriving creative community to experience works by both local and internationally acclaimed artists. Envisioned in 2007 by the late collector, philanthropist, and artist Linda Pace, Ruby City presents works from Pace’s own collection of more than 800 paintings, sculptures, installations, and video works.
The new building, designed by renowned architect Sir David Adjaye and slated for completion later this year is part of a growing campus, which also includes Chris Park, a one-acre public green space named in memory of Pace’s son, and Studio, an auxiliary exhibition space which presents curated shows and programming throughout the year.
The building is conceived to be experienced as an ambulatory loop: from the ground, up and through the independent gallery rooms, and back down returning back to the lobby and plaza. The exterior form consists of a ‘heavier’ top with sloping soffits, emphasizing its upward lift, topped with two crowning lanterns that create an animated roofline. The lanterns, in turn, bring natural light into gallery spaces, when desired, and coupled with the two lenses facing Chris Park and San Pedro Creek, respectively, reintroduce views back to the exterior and San Antonio at large.
The exterior skin consists of precast concrete fabricated in Mexico City and imbued with a rich red. For the first ten feet up, the concrete is a polished finish, ground to be touched smoothly by a passerby; above, the concrete wall is rough, sharp, and encrusted with two hues of red glass. The total effect on the building makes it appear as if this angular, rough, and sparkling rock, has been sheared at the level of human interaction. The contrast in smooth and rough becomes a signature decision to Ruby City.