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Sparano + Mooney’s Beautiful Kimball Art Center Proposal Takes Inspiration From Aspens
Sparano + Mooney may not be as well known as a few of the other firms, but their work speaks for itself in terms of quality, sustainable design and beauty. Their proposal is by far the most beautiful of the five and one that will likely create a strong emotional response in visitors*. The use of local materials and reference to our heritage and surrounding environment serves as both a reminder for those who live here, and also a form of education for visitors. This proposal is strongly rooted in sustainable design, first shoring up the existing facilities, then ensuring a tight and high performance envelope and then making use of solar passive design and daylighting. The lower hanging fruit is addressed first before adding on more sophisticated systems like the mechanical, lighting, and photovoltaic systems.
Unlike BIG and Brooks + Scarpa’s designs, Sparano + Mooney’s does not go up, but addresses the level of the surrounding buildings. This could limit the center in terms of available space and potential for growth, or the programmatic layout may be efficient enough to compensate for not going higher. The two rooftop decks seem amply sized, but a larger public plaza at the entrance would be more desirable especially for summertime activities and events. Nature does is certainly woven in the throughout the interior and then visible through the exterior, but it’s all dead. Nature in a living form, either through a courtyard, planted trees or some other living installation could send this design over the top. Some may say that this proposal isn’t big enough (no pun intended) and we should take this as an opportunity to do something extraordinary. This design is wonderful though – it’s just taken the more subtle and elegant approach.
Images ©Sparano + Mooney courtesy of the Kimball Art 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.
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