Steven Holl Architects: Forking Time

September 13-October 18, 2012
OFF SITE: Virginia Center for Architecture, 2501 Monument Avenue

This exhibition offered an in-depth look at the design process for the new Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, created by Steven Holl Architects. Coordinated by the Anderson Gallery for the VCU School of the Arts, Forking Time included more than 30 study models with numerous concept drawings and digitally animated renderings. It was first seen at the Meulensteen Gallery in New York City last spring.

Sited at the busiest corner of VCU’s Monroe Park campus, the ICA features an inviting, double-height forum, a flexible space for both spontaneous encounters and planned events that connects with a 247-seat performance space. The torsion of these intersecting bodies is joined to the galleries in “forking time” by a “plane of the present.”

The idea of “forking time” suggests that in the world of contemporary art there are many parallel times. The conventional notion of one ongoing time and its grand narrative of history are questioned. The exhibition space in the new 38,000-square-foot facility comprises four galleries, each with a different character. This flexible configuration allows for four separate exhibitions, one continuous exhibition, or a combination.

The building has a double front: one side opens from the city, the other from a sculpture garden to the forum, linking city and campus. On the ground level, a café opens directly onto the sculpture garden, as does the ground-level gallery. Pivot doors allow opening events to spill out into the garden; a large reflecting pond of recycled water shapes the sense of this garden as a “thinking field.”

The ICA’s architecture is a catalytic instrument for significant cutting-edge contemporary art exhibitions and an array of public programs, performances, screenings, and special events that will engage audiences from the university, the city, and far beyond.


Design Architects: Steven Holl and Chris McVoy

Project Architect: Dimitra Tsachrelia

Project Team: Garrick Ambrose, Rychiee Espinosa, Scott Fredricks, Gary He, Christina Yessios

Exhibition Team: Chris McVoy, Dimitra Tsachrelia, Janine Biunno, and Julia van den Hout; Ashley Kistler and Michael Lease, Anderson Gallery

Associate Architects: BCWH Architects

Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates

Mechanical Engineer: Arup