Ruby City museum
© DrorBaldinger. Courtesy of Ruby City and Adjaye Associates

Ruby City museum

Adjaye Associates as Architects

Ruby City is a 14,000 square foot contemporary art centre, with 10,000 square feet of exhibition space in San Antonio, TX. The centre provides a space for the city’s thriving creative community to experience works by both local and internationally acclaimed artists. Envisioned in 2007 by the late collector, philanthropist, and artist Linda Pace, Ruby City presents works from Pace’s own collection of more than 800 paintings, sculptures, installations and video works. The building, designed by David Adjaye, is part of a growing campus, which also includes Chris Park, a one- acre public green space named in memory of Pace’s son, and Studio, an auxiliary exhibition space presenting curated shows and programming throughout the year.

The experience of the building is conceived as an ambulatory loop. From the ground, the visitor moves up and through the independent gallery rooms, and back down returning to the lobby and plaza. The exterior form consists of a ‘heavier’ top with sloping soffits that emphasize its upward lift, which is covered by two crowning lanterns that create an animated roof-line. The lanterns, in turn, bring natural light into gallery spaces. Coupled with the two lenses facing Chris Park and San Pedro Creek, respectively, the lanterns also reintroduce views back to the exterior and San Antonio at large.

The exterior skin consists of a precast concrete fabricated in Mexico City and imbued with a rich red. For the first ten feet up, the concrete is a polished finish, to be touched smoothly by passersby; above, the concrete wall is rough, sharp, and encrusted with two hues of red glass. The total effect on the building makes it appear as if this angular, rough and sparkling rock, has been sheared at the level of human interaction. The contrast in smooth and rough becomes a signature decision to Ruby City.

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