Ian Volner | February 28, 2012
An international architecture competition has been underway this season, with a batch of top-flight firms vying to design a new home for the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. Brooks + Skarpa and Sparano + Mooney were just two of the large-scale practices jockeying for the commission; now, with all the submissions in, and after extensive review by the Kimball jury, Copenhagen-based firm BIG has carried the day, with the near-ubiquitous office of Danish phenom Bjarke Ingels getting the nod for the new complex in collaboration with local practice Architectural Nexus. "It was hard for the jury to choose between the five excellent finalists," said one member of the panel, Maurice Cox. "BIG won the competition by proposing an iconic building that honors the spirit of Park City’s past and looks ahead into the 21st century."
Balancing contextual sensitivity with contemporary flair, the BIG proposal will be shooting for LEED Platinum rating for energy efficiency. The centerpiece of the design, a helictical staircase that spans the entire height of the building, prompts its strikingly iconic, twisting facade, rendered in striated building components that make it look like a skewed pile of Lincoln logs. The jury's high opinion was shared by a fair segment of the Kimball-going public, whose opinion was solicited through an online poll.