Kimball Art Center Park City, UT
With over 9000 skiable acres and 64 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, Park City has drawn millions of people from around the world to live, visit and play amongst its unique natural beauty and blend of old and new. One of the most incredible and mesmerizing natural features is the seemingly endless deep blue sky. Despite the time of year or weather conditions, the sky always seems to quickly return to its infinite and hypnotic clarity, with rarely with a cloud in the sky. It provokes a kind of indelible wonder; a dreamlike state of mind that engages the viewer, heightens their sense of awareness, and brings a sense of vitality to the place. The concept for the new Kimball Art Center addition and renovation is to perceptually bring the uniqueness of the Park City sky directly into the city. The new ground level façade is constructed of very transparent glass and opens directly to the street, while delicately connecting and weaving into the heavy mass of the existing historic Kimball building. The upper floors are also composed of a conventional glazing system that is covered by a rain screen made from a more translucent honeycomb material. This façade is the visual icon of the building, but also plays a role in the thermal performance of the building. As a result, the lower floor is absorbed into the context of the city and the adjacent existing building, while the upper floors overhang the more transparent level below. The new building appears to levitate above the site, while the historic structure feels solid and grounded to the earth. This illusion enhances the buildings, giving them a collective strength that neither building could possess individually. This also engages the user, heightens their sense of awareness, and brings a deeper understanding and vitality to their experience encouraging the user to forge a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the fundamental, yet delicate relationships that exist between themselves, the natural world, its vital resources, and our collective cultures.