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Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah by Will Bruder + Partners
January 21st, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Will Bruder + Partners
KAC as Urban Magnet…
Will Bruder + PARTNERS’ design proposal for the reinvented Kimball Art Center creates a community arts pavilion that is scaled to and complementary to its urban context — proportioned to be understood and enjoyed both from the pace of a pedestrian on Main Street or through the perspective of a visitor’s windshield as they arrive in Park City. The Kimball Art Center is conceived as a comfortable building of its place and time that also celebrates the challenge of ‘the new’. It is a home to the possibilities of ‘making and ideas’, as it serves its mission of providing quality arts education, exhibition, and events.
The proposal is a 3-dimensional Möbius strip, of sorts, which defines the movement from the sidewalk through the interior of the new Kimball Art Center. This connects new front doors on Main Street, Heber Avenue, and the north delivery door off of Park Avenue, all without the need of a step or staircase — comfortably accessible to all. It embraces flexibility and flow, with a carefully choreographed logic of movement, both vertical and horizontal, across the topography of its high-profileurban site. The Kimball Art Centeristo create a newdynamic ‘town square’ of Park City’s Main Street—a social, intellectual and experiential hub of activity.
KAC New Meets Old…
The respectfully restored facades of the original 1929 Eloy Motor Services/Kimball Garage will serve as the historic foil to the new education and administration needs of the Center… without losing its ‘third place’ heart, the community coffee shop. The sloped floor 165 seat lecture/screening room is carved out of the lower northwest corner of the new Main Street floor level. The artifact of the old becomes the foundation for the new translucent glass scrimmed 6000 sf rooftop garden terrace—an ephemeral halo over the original rustic walls of KAC, created for the enjoyment and viewing of art and film while embraced by surrounding mountains and sky.
Thoughtfully mining the possibilities of transparency, porosity and accessibility, materiality and craft, the schemeoptimizes exhibition througha grand flexible lobby as ‘a make space’, entered from both Main Street and Heber Avenue, where the diverse programming of the Kimball Art Center is conceived to be inextricably linked to Park City’s urban context and public realm.
The expansive sweep of the primary gallery spaces, with 17′ ceilings, iscontiguous with the public roof top terrace. These column free art spaces gain much of their energy and serenity from their dynamic plan forms around the glazed and UV protected ‘sky well’. This dramatic element, open to the sky, gives continuity to the Center’s three levels, as do a series of narrow random width slot apertures which punctuate views out to the city. Together, they enliven the ‘mixer’ ante chamber at the entry to the more discrete gallery spaces.
The facade speaks to the Kimball Art Center’s mission of education. . . to the many parts that make the whole. Beautifully crafted ceramic tiles of black and white are lyrically punctuated with glazed tiles of primary and complementary colors. This touchstone pays homage to the seminal design foundations of 20th Century master educators and artists Annie and Joseph Albers (Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, and Yale, 1920-1960). The Albers’ progressive teaching of, and work in, crafts, color theory, design, and photography forever changed the education and creation of art, underpinning and inspiring the work of today’s students and artists.
Our architectural concept for the Kimball Art Center is inspired by the region’s first ‘exhibition walls’, the colorful prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs of the surfaces within Utah’s sculptural and monumental canyons. Park City’s own rich inventory of Victorian architecture, which is authentic, playful, and finely scaled to the context of its place, is another important precedent. In the best tradition of the outsider art movements, our vision of material, texture, and color for the Kimball Art Center celebrates the enduring human impulse to make art—a timely and timeless vessel of art—a place of challenge, contemplation and exchange.
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