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The Golden Banana: Rafael Viñoly’s Firstsite Arts Center Finally Opens with Mixed Reviews

Posted By Tafline Laylin On September 28, 2011 @ 10:02 am In Architecture,News | No Comments

Golden Blunder, Rafael Vinoly, Roman Ruins, Daylighting, green design, eco design, sustainable design, Firstsite Arts Center, Colchester, UK, archaeological dig, [1]

Firstsite finally opened its great golden doors on September 25th – four years after originally planned. The final price tag came in at $44.3 million dollars – significantly more than originally quoted – after a series of engineering and structural problems delayed construction. Commissioned in 2003 via a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) [2]-led design competition, Rafael Viñoly’s vision has been criticized from the onset. Arch Record reports that Borough Councillor Paul Smith supports the project since he expects it to draw $3.2 million in annual revenues, but Parliament Member Bob Russell calls it an embarrassing “Golden Blunder.”

Still, we think that Viñoly should receive kudos for giving the project a light-ish footprint in order to preserve the surrounding archaeological treasures. Instead of creating a giant that requires deep footings (as well as a prohibitively expensive archaeological dig) he opted instead for a single multistory volume that receives plenty of natural light. Though the construction materials might have been eco-friendlier than copper and aluminum cladding, there’s a good reason that Rafael Viñoly was entrusted to create the gorgeous state-of-the-art arts and educational facility that has already brought little old Colchester out of the shadows.

+ Rafael Viñoly [3]

Via Arch Record [4]

images via Richard Bryant [5]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/a-golden-banana-rafael-vinolys-firstsite-arts-center-finally-opens-with-mixed-reviews/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2011/09/firstsite-rafael-vinoly-2.jpg

[2] Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): http://www.architecture.com/

[3] + Rafael Viñoly: http://www.rvapc.com/

[4] Arch Record: http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2011/09/Firstsite-Art-Ctr-Grand-Opening.asp

[5] Richard Bryant: http://www.richardbryant.co.uk/richardbryant-mr/home.htm

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