Brooks + Scarpa

Brooks + Scarpa

Hawthorne, CA | Fort Lauderdale


Kimball Art Center

With over 9000 skiable acres and 64 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, Park City has drawn millions of people from around the world to live, visit and play amongst its unique natural beauty and blend of old and new. One of the most incredible and mesmerizing natural features is the seemingly endless deep blue sky. Despite the time of year or weather conditions, the sky always seems to quickly return to its infinite and hypnotic clarity, with rarely with a cloud in the sky. It provokes a kind of indelible wonder; a dreamlike state of mind that engages the viewer, heightens their sense of awareness, and brings a sense of vitality to the place.

The concept for the new Kimball Art Center addition and renovation is to perceptually bring the uniqueness of the Park City sky directly into the city. The new ground level façade is constructed of very transparent glass and opens directly to the street, while delicately connecting and weaving into the heavy mass of the existing historic Kimball building. The upper floors are also composed of a conventional glazing system that is covered by a rain screen made from a more translucent honeycomb material. This façade is the visual icon of the building, but also plays a role in the thermal performance of the building. As a result, the lower floor is absorbed into the context of the city and the adjacent existing building, while the upper floors overhang the more transparent level below. The new building appears to levitate above the site, while the historic structure feels solid and grounded to the earth. This illusion enhances the buildings, giving them a collective strength that neither building could possess individually. This also engages the user, heightens their sense of awareness, and brings a deeper understanding and vitality to their experience encouraging the user to forge a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the fundamental, yet delicate relationships that exist between themselves, the natural world, its vital resources, and our collective cultures.

On the interior of the building, the design intent is about delicately knitting together the spaces where art, allowing the community to view and/or participate in the artistic experience. Rather than simply displaying art for view, the new design reveals to the community the very process by which art is created. Every feature of the building is multivalent and rich with meaning—performing several roles for functional, formal and experiential effect.

At the corner of Main Street and Herber Ave the creation of a large exterior court links directly to the 20-foot high smithing, studios and other studios that would use this court daily as their outdoor workspace. The façade between the exterior court and studio would be glass to visually open the Art Center to public view. Large sliding panel doors open and connect the exterior and interior together so artist and students can use the court seamlessly from inside to out. From this court, located midway between the existing Kimball ground floor and basement level and connect directly to the street, most of the working studio spaces are visually linked to the street corner. These spaces flow from the court deep into the building linking the new structure with the existing. In this configuration the existing basement is opened up and connected to Main Street along with the existing Kimball ground floor and the new structure. The heart of the Art center, the process by which art is made is connected to the street corner. Rather than simply displaying art to the community, the process itself is on display as a passerby can see deep into the building viewing people working throughout several studio spaces, the main exhibition space and the many other spaces that link visually link together.

Creating this split-level design at the street levels on Main Street and Herber Avenue serves several other important purposes. It allows for great flexibility, affording the Art Center the ability to easily divide and use the ground level for a variety of purposes and functions, both large and small, while still remaining visually open and not feeling like a bunch of separated smaller rooms.

There are three entries to the reimaged Art Center. The existing entry location remains in approximately in the same place and is connected to new entry on Herber Ave closer to Main Street. At the split level along Main Street is the secondary, but important entry. Located near the current (and new) parking lot, this entry provides staff and students direct access to the lower (existing basement) and split-levels. It also provides direct access to the large elevator to the upper floors and delivery of art. At this location between the elevator and Administrative offices a concealed roll down, open security gate is located. This entry allows controlled access to the upper floors of the building when the Art Center when it is closed, providing three floors of flexible around the clock space usage, if and when desired.

Above the split-level ground floor are the three additional floors and a roof top deck. A grand stair and oversized elevator that can also be used to move large art objects connects seamlessly to the ground levels. The second floor houses the Adult and Children’s Studios which open to a large deck on the south side of the building overlooking to main court below. There is a non load-bearing partition between the two spaces that allows each space to expand or shrink as necessary or to program it as a single larger space. This level also has a large public roof deck over the existing building for use as expanded studio space. It is also envisioned that this deck would be used to show movies at night projected onto the adjacent building façade.

The third floor is dedicated entirely to the small exhibit space. It has a 20-foot high space and flexible non-bearing demountable partitions for a variety of exhibits. This floor could also be used for private events while the Art Center is open or closed.

The fourth and uppermost floor is the lease space for a restaurant with commanding views overlooking the city and into the surrounding areas. To the best of our knowledge this would become the only restaurant in the downtown area with such a panoramic view. The restaurant would also have access to the roof terrace above. This floor would be used to house the Kimball Administrative Offices until Phase Two construction is completed.

Finally, above the restaurant the building culminates with a public roof terrace with commanding views above the city. This space can be used for a variety of public and private events while the Art Center is open or closed. Since the restaurant (and kitchen) is in such close proximity the terrace can be easily used by the restaurant and other private catered events providing additional revenue to the Art Center.

Other than the darkest portions of the existing basement, the entire Art Center has been designed to have a great deal built-in flexibility, which will allow the spaces to be used is a variety of configurations and uses as the Art Center evolves and continues to grow.

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Status: Built
Location: Park City, UT, US