Randall Stout Architects-designed Visual Arts Institute in Alabama nears completion
The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) design is envisioned as a bold two-storey building that will support the University of Birmingham (Alabama) Department of Art and Art History’s vision to be identified as a site of artistic innovation. Located on a prominent campus corner, the AEIVA will compliment UAB’s vision for the arts and create an arts destination for students, faculty, staff and members of the greater Birmingham community.
Stretched out along a triangular site, the AEIVA design creates dynamic indoor and outdoor public spaces that physically and visually connect with the adjacent Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center and the UAB campus. Extending from the intersection of 10th Avenue and 13th Street the building mass steps up from a single storey Gallery Bar that houses the galleries and auditorium to an elevated Education Bar that encloses classrooms, studios, and administration areas.
The buildings raised Education Bar features a covered Art Plaza adjacent to the Lobby and a Gallery Concourse that connects the Lobby with a Sculpture Garden to the west. In the spirit of the UAB Campus Master Plan, 'to enhance the pedestrian qualities of the Campus and build desirable linkages', these exterior spaces serve as collective gathering places for students and the arts community while activating pedestrian pathways within the new arts district.
The new program includes three individual galleries for new technology, changing exhibits and for student work, totalling approximately 4,700 sq ft of gallery space and a Sculpture Garden which will function as an outdoor gallery exhibiting sculptures in a landscaped setting. The project will provide a permanent home for the art history program that is currently housed in temporary quarters. This will include approximately 3,300 sq ft of studio and classroom space containing a computer lab, graphic design and new media studios as well as supporting amenities.
The public and education components are linked by the main lobby featuring a two story atrium capped by a large north facing clerestory light monitor providing natural lighting and views between second floor academic spaces and ground floor public access. The galleries have north facing openings onto a Gallery Concourse to control glare and sunlight.