BCWH is the Associated Architect selected with Steven Holl for VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art

Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with BCWH Architects has won the commission for the new Institute for Contemporary Art for Virginia Commonwealth University. The building will create a new forum for the arts on campus and forge new connections to the arts community of the region.

Part exhibition and performance space, part lab and incubator, the 38,000-square-foot building will feature a series of flexible programming spaces for the presentation of visual art, theater, music, dance and film by nationally and internationally recognized artists. The facility also encompasses a 245-plus-seat performance space, outdoor plazas, a sculpture garden, classrooms, a café and administrative offices.

Scheduled to open in 2015, this non-collecting institution is designed to facilitate the way artists are working today by accommodating the increasing lack of barriers among different media and practices, mirroring the cross-disciplinary approach at VCU’s School of the Arts (VCUarts).  VCUarts has long been the top public university graduate arts and design program in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. The ICA will complement and enhance the offerings of VCU while also serving as a new destination for contemporary arts and culture in the region.

“Situated at one of the most traveled entrances to the city, the Institute for Contemporary Art will become the gateway and symbol of the creative energy of the city of Richmond,” said Joseph H. Seipel, dean of the VCU School of Arts.

The selection process was to find an architect-led team and not to select a specific design. “We are honored to have Steven Holl, internationally recognized as one the most inspired and significant architects of our time,” said Seipel. “With Holl leading this endeavor, I am confident the ICA is destined to become an iconic building for VCU and the city of Richmond and will find its place as a prominent example of Steven Holl’s contributions to the history of architecture.”

Steven Holl said, “We are very enthusiastic to be working with Virginia Commonwealth University. The Monroe Park campus environment presents unique opportunities for the Institute of Contemporary Art to act as a social condenser. We envision a new architecture as a catalyst between the public and the great School of the Arts.”


BCWH Architects of Richmond has twenty-five years of experience in award-winning architectural, planning, and interior design for educational, institutional, and cultural clients in Virginia. BCWH and its staff have served Virginia Commonwealth University for over fifteen years in a variety of campus planning, building design, and project leadership roles.  Recent projects at VCU include the Mary and Frances Youth Center, the 2004 Master Site Plan, proposed General Classroom Building and the School of Pharmacy renovations.

Contact information:
Charles Piper, AIA, REFP, LEEDAP
Principal, BCWH 1840 West Broad Street, Suite 400
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 788-4774

Steven Holl Architects has realized cultural, civic, academic and residential projects both in the United States and internationally.  Steven Holl Architects (SHA) is a 45 person architecture and urban design office founded in 1976, and working globally as one office from two locations; New York City and Beijing. Steven Holl leads the office with senior partner Chris McVoy. Most recently completed  is the Cite de l’Ocean et du Surf in collaboration with Solange Fabião (Biarritz, France). The Queens Library (Hunters Point, NY) received an award for Design Excellence from the NYC Design Commission in 2011, and the Horizontal Skyscraper-Vanke Center (Shenzhen, China) won a 2011 AIA Institute Honor Award. Currently in construction are the Nanjing Museum of Art and Architecture (Nanjing, China), Beirut Marina (Beirut, Lebanon), the Daeyang House and Gallery (Seoul, Korea), and the large mixed-use complex in Chengdu, China: the Sliced Porosity Block.

For more information on the work of Steven Holl Architects, please visit www.stevenholl.com or contact press@stevenholl.com.

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