Home & Design

Photo by Terry Brown

Photo by Iwan Baan

Photo by Iwan Baan (left and top); Terry Brown (right).

Light Show

Richmond's first institution dedicated to modern art

With its 2018 debut, the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University brought Richmond its first institution dedicated to modern art. Steven Holl Architects masterminded the striking Markel Center, which houses the ICA, to welcome students and the public alike. “We designed the ICA to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that will both illuminate and serve as a catalyst for the transformative possibilities of contemporary art,” says Holl, who also designed The Reach, a recent expansion at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

The 41,000-square-foot ICA is clad in pre-weathered zinc in a satin finish; clear- and translucent-glass windows, walls and skylights bathe the interiors in natural light. Performance and exhibition spaces radiate from its soaring, central forum. The first floor features an airy gallery (above, right), café, shop and state-of-the-art auditorium. The second floor includes two galleries (one, above left, displayed Lee Mingwei’s “The Mending Project” in 2018) and a “learning lab;” another gallery beckons on the third floor.

The LEED Gold-certified building boasts a geothermal heating and cooling system and four green roofs to absorb storm water and offset carbon emissions. Near one of its entrances, a garden with a reflecting pool (top) is used for social gatherings and public programs. A purple-neon light installation by Tavares Strachan on an outdoor terrace perfectly encapsulates the ICA’s mission, spelling out the words “You belong here.”

Architecture: Steven Holl Architects, New York, New York. Associate Architects: BCWH Architects, Richmond, Virginia. Contractor: Gilbane, Inc., Richmond, Virginia. Photography: Iwan Baan (left and top); Terry Brown (right).

You may also like:

Ask the Pros: Architecture
Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay
Sailor’s Delight
A modern abode in Irvington, Virginia, pays homage to the boating life
Shenandoah Retreat
Against an idyllic mountain backdrop, a pair of architects creates the perfect eco-friendly contemporary
HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

The company also publishes an annual H&D Sourcebook of ideas and resources for homeowners and professionals alike. H&D Chesapeake Views is published bi-annually and showcases fine home design and luxury living in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

The H&D Portfolio of 100 Top Designers spotlights the superior work of selected architects, interior designers and landscape architects in major regions of the US.

Stay Connected with HOME & DESIGN Newsletter

Copyright © 2021 Home & Design. All rights reserved. | Back to top
magnifier