Construction began on the ICA in June 2014. Watch the building take shape here.




Green Guide to the Building (Part 3)

Upon completion of construction in 2017, the ICA will submit for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization committed to sustainable practices in building and construction.

State buildings in Virginia are required to consider sustainability and must pass one of the following three standards: LEED Certification at the silver level; Green Globes Ratings Systems two-globe level; or adhere to the International Green Construction Code. The ICA anticipates earning a LEED gold certification, one level beyond what is required.

Rebecca Aarons-Sydnor is the ICA’s sustainability representative from the Richmond firm, Sustainable Design Consulting (SDC). (more…)

The ICA Auditorium

As construction crews removed the scaffolding and support systems around the exterior of the Markel Center last summer, the sloping plane that supports the auditorium seating was revealed. In keeping with the ICA’s mission to be ever-changing, Steven Holl Architects designed the auditorium to be a flexible and dynamic space that can accommodate the broadest possible range of contemporary performance art and programming needs. (more…)

October 2016 Construction Update

Fall is finally here and with it, the Markel Center enters an exciting new phase of construction.

Over the past few weeks, the building was dramatically transformed with the removal of scaffolding and reveal of the torqued exterior walls above the auditorium. Concrete work for the lower level, first-floor gallery, cafe, and shop have all been completed; remaining are the third-floor gallery and upper canopy of the forum. Also completed, placement of the steel beams for these remaining structures. Perhaps the most striking construction component to date, the steel super-structure revealed a hint of the Markel Center’s future visual impact at the intersection of Broad and Belvidere.

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Modeling the ICA’s Markel Center

Last spring the ICA commissioned An Liu, a master’s student in the School of the Arts Department of Interior Design, to build an architectural model of the Markel Center. Liu is an expert model builder. He estimates having constructed more than 50 architectural models since he was a bachelor’s student in exhibition design at Nanjing Normal University, School of Fine Arts in China.

Liu met with Michael Lease, the ICA’s Interim Director of Facilities, Installation and Exhibition Design to discuss the Institute’s needs for this particular model. Unlike most architectural models which show granular detail and are designed to showcase what a building will look like when complete, this is a working model to be used for exhibition programming and planning. An important planning tool for the curatorial department, the model needs to be durable, mobile, built to scale, and easy to disassemble and reassemble.

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A Green Guide to the Building (Part 2)

VCU and the ICA are committed to building a greener and more sustainable campus. We spoke with the ICA’s Interim Director of Facilities, Installation, and Exhibition Design Michael Lease to explore the positive environmental impact of key construction materials and the site’s landscape.

One of the most visible green elements will be the zinc panels that cover the exterior of the Institute for Contemporary Art’s building, at the Markel Center. There are several reasons why using zinc is environmentally friendly. First, it’s 100% recyclable; it can be used again and again. Second, it resists corrosion. Third, it is a natural fungistat, reducing the risk of mold, mildew, and fungus, and the need for fungicides, which can pollute storm water runoff and stress local habitats.  A structural benefit of the zinc paneling is its physical flexibility for some of the building’s curved walls, particularly the section along Broad that will span more than two stories.  To get a sense of how the Markel Center might look, check out the new Riverside Museum of Transport in Glasgow, UK, designed by Zaha Hadid. (more…)

A Green Guide to the Building (Part 1)

VCU and the ICA are committed to building a greener and more sustainable campus. Maximizing the opportunities of a new construction project, the ICA is incorporating technologies that ensure building operations will have a limited environmental impact. We spoke with the ICA’s Interim Director of Administration Jaime Baird about three engineering features — geothermal wells, green roof assemblies, and glass cavity walls — that will reduce the need for fossil fuels to maintain the building at a constant temperature and humidity required when exhibiting art. (more…)

Construction Cam Aimed and Ready

In anticipation of next month’s groundbreaking, a VCU Ramcam has been aimed to pan across the ICA site while it’s under construction. We’re looking forward to watching that parking lot transform from gray-asphalt wasteland into a dynamic public space. The video stream can be seen on our About page. The camera will also capture a daily photo which we’ll compile into a time-lapse video of construction when it’s all said and done in 2017.