Kimball Art Center expansion draws ‘largely positive’ opinions
Ryan Summerlin March 25, 2014
Leonard Razin has been skiing in Park City since 1964, the opening year of the ski area that would eventually become Park City Mountain Resort.
Now living in Thaynes Canyon after retiring in Park City in 1994, Razin looks favorably at the idea to expand the Kimball Art Center. The historic building on Park Avenue dates to before Razin started visiting Park City, but he sees the expansion as something that fits well at the site.
Razin was one of the people who attended an open house at the Kimball Art Center on Saturday as the not-for-profit’s leaders continue to engage City Hall in discussions about the expansion.
"I like the openness of it and the fact you can see. There’s so much visibility into the building," Razin said about the expansion blueprints.
The Kimball Art Center is holding a series of open houses through Saturday as it continues through the City Hall development process. The open houses provide people the opportunity to talk to the Kimball Art Center’s leadership team, peruse conceptual images of the expansion and study a model showing how the project will fit along the streetscape.
Razin spent time looking at the exhibits while visiting the Kimball Art Center on Saturday, saying that the architecture of the expansion will look fine alongside historic building the not-for-profit arts organization now occupies.
"It’s modern," he said about the expansion blueprints. "At the same time it fits in keeping with the mining tradition."
He said he supports the expansion, anticipating that it will become a focal point along Main Street, particularly in the summer.
The Kimball Art Center recently unveiled a redone concept for the expansion after an earlier one was widely criticized as a building that would not fit along Main Street. The expansion is planned for the art center’s patio at the high-profile Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection.
A renowned Danish architectural firm, Bjarke Ingels Group, designed the first iteration and, after the criticism, the one that is now under consideration. City Hall is reviewing the Kimball Art Center’s submittal against the municipal government’s tight Old Town design guidelines.
The expansion would entail a 15,000-square-foot addition made of concrete to the building. The height would range from 32 feet tall to 46 feet tall. The expansion would double the square footage of the art center and include space for exhibitions and programs as well as 4,000 square feet for a Children’s Interactive Discovery Center and 3,000 square feet for an education studio.
Robin Marrouche, the executive director of the Kimball Art Center, said the open houses prior to the one on Saturday drew upward of 30 people each. The Saturday event, though, attracted just a handful of people. Marrouche said the opinions have been "largely positive."
"I think they appreciate we listened," Marrouche said about the redoing the design after the first one was criticized.
She said she has received questions about the expansion’s impact on views and why the architect chose a modern look rather than one that matches the exiting Kimball Art Center. Marrouche said an expansion to a historic building normally does not mimic the original structure. The expansion should be distinct, she said.
Three additional open houses are planned at the Kimball Art Center. The schedule:
More information is available about the expansion on the Kimball Art Center’s website, www.kimballartcenter.org/building-proposal/. The art center is accepting comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.