The new Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, founded in 1939 in Cincinnati, is the first independent structure of the Center for Contemporary Art, one of the first institutions dedicated to visual arts in the United States. One of the most exciting aspects of the RCCA is that it does not place any permanent collections in order to organize various temporary exhibitions. The degree of unpredictability in the scale and environment of exhibited artworks serves as a manifesto in the configuration of the galleries and in the design of spatial possibilities.
Educational facilities, offices, artistic preparation/study areas, a souvenir shop, performance theater and public spaces have also been designed within this necessary program.The RCCA is located in the center of Cincinnati, on a dynamic urban area intersected by Walnut and the East Sixth Streets. Design creates an urban and cultural life-force and connects people with city movements.
The pedestrian from Fountain Square passes by. The RCCA is also opposed to the Aranoff Art Center, where the construction of the newly finished performing arts facilities is available.The south side, located in East Sixth, links the city by expressing program elements as separate linear volumes of gross concrete, glass and metal panels. These elements individually reflect the scale of the city plan and collectively form a compact vertical mass – a massive urban deck.
The volumes appear to be heavy and untouched, and float indefinitely, challenging gravity over the lobby area. Kent catches a brief glance from the glass surfaces of the crucifix in the Art Center, the voids and the volumetric articulations of the gallery spaces. The eastern face of Walnut Street is a sculptural relief framed by “Urban Carpet”, reflecting out the inner composition of gallery volumes heavily overlaid by individual volumes describing the linearity and the end of the southern ceiling. The RCCA links the contemporary art world to the city’s public world by offering a series of activities created by the dynamism of urban touch.