The Kimball Art Center is one step closer to its expansion and restoration project.

A seven-person jury has selected the Top 5 architectural firms to compete for the job.

The five firms, which were chosen from a list of 18, are:

  • BIG/Bjarke Ingles Group, New York and Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Brooks and Scarpa Architects, Los Angeles

  • Sparano and Mooney Architects, Salt Lake City

  • Will Bruder and Partners Ltd., Phoenix

  • Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York

    "The jury saw there was as broad of a mix as you could find," said Matt Mullin, vice chairman of the Kimball Art Center board of directors and director of the architectural design competition. "The styles go from modern, Scandinavian-style architecture to something more Utah-esque, but contemporary."

    The Kimball invited 18 firms to submit ideas, and 12 responded, he said.

    "We specified what we wanted from a functional standpoint," Mullin said. "There was no point of doing a remodeling if we don't gain any functional space for our education programs and exhibitions.

    "We didn't tell them how we wanted it to look, because the purpose was to give them as much creativity as possible."

    The voting members of the jury that selected the five firms were:

  • Maurice Cox, urban designer, professor of architecture at the University of Virginia, a former mayor of Charlottesville, Va., and director of design for the National Endowment of the Arts.

  • Prescott Muir, an architect and director of the School of Architecture at the University of Utah.

  • Tina Lewis, the first director of the Park City Arts Festival, who has served on the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sundance Utah Advisory Board.

  • Joanne Shiebler, art collector and enthusiast, who lives in Salt Lake City.

  • Jim Gaddis, a Park City developer.

    In addition, there are two people who have a voice in the expansion and restoration but weren't allowed to vote on the architects. They were Kimball Art Center executive director Robin Marrouche and Phyllis Robinson, a City Hall official.

    The diversity of the architectural firms backs up the idea that Utah is an international cultural destination that needs to be expanded, Mullin said.

    "Utah has always had a strong art tradition, but it's just not known to the greatest degree across the nation or in the international sense," he said. "For those that look at architecture as art and those who are looking at an arts destination will do even more when the Kimball has a bigger and better building within.

    "We get millions of cultured international visitors, who will have something they're used to seeing in their metropolitan areas in Park City and on the busiest intersection we have," he said. "How many millions of people cross that intersection every winter and summer? They will have a chance to see a well-known piece of architecture."

    Representatives from the five firms will be in Park City on Wednesday, Nov. 2, to meet with city officials.

    "The architects will also go on a tour to get to know what this place is about," Mullin said. "Part of that is meeting with the people."

    That's the goal of the 'Meet Your Designer' event that will be held at the Egyptian Theatre from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Mullin said.

    "The town will introduce themselves to the architects and learn of their different plans for the Kimball Art Center," he said.

    "Meet Your Designer Night" at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., is on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. to meet the Top 5 architects selected for the Kimball Art Center.