As a resident of Park City* and someone deeply involved in the arts in my community I’ve got some very strong opinions about what the Kimball should become. As I’ll be covering all 5 design proposals, I’d also like to offer up my own thoughts as to how each would work or not work. BIG’s proposal is very strong in the sense of the massive structure they’ve designed as well as how it fits within the context of the city. Before the proposals were unveiled, I expected something more outlandish from Mr. Ingels, but was glad to see that he and his team restrained themselves a bit.
I appreciate the obvious connections with our mining heritage along with the use of timber, which is a part of our vernacular. BIG’s design is at once both rustic and modern, combining natural elements like wood along with sleek finishes and crisp lines. The hulking timber tower harkens to the history of the city and gives the arts center a prominent silhouette set against the vernacular of the homes, old town main street and the ski slopes behind. While the idea of an iconic landmark tower for the city is great, I’m concerned the form is too harsh and too heavy.
The interior seems spacious and modern, but perhaps a bit too spartan. This interior might appeal to the more international crowd that will visit the center, but for the local residents, myself included, it’s a bit too cosmopolitan. The incorporation of sustainable strategies is adequate, although I don’t think they’ve gone above and beyond what is possible – they could’ve have gone bigger. That being said, Kimball Art Center serves as the arts and cultural hub for the town and a new center built by someone as well known as BIG could raise the center’s status in the international arts community as well. If you’re in Park City, UT during the next month, be sure to hit up the Kimball Art Center to see all 5 models and project boards.
Images ©BIG courtesy of Kimball Arts Center and ©Bridgette Meinhold
* Bridgette Meinhold calls Park City, UT home and is intimately involved in the activities of the Kimball Art Center. She has watched the design competition closely since it first began and will continue to provide in-depth, first hand info on the project as it evolves.