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The Contemporary Arts Center is located in the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art.
Designed by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid, the CAC was the first U.S. museum designed by a woman and hailed by the New York Times as "the most important American building to be completed since the cold war."
Watch Buildipedia's video about this history-making project:
In the Design Museum's bio of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, they state:
Somewhat ironically, it was traditionally conservative Midwestern America that gave Hadid her real break. The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, Ohio was a chance to try out her ideas on a large scale and to conceive a stunning new take on curating and museum experience...
Cincinnati silenced all those who said Zaha Hadid’s architecture was impossible to build. And the ideas developed for Cincinnati were already being refined in other large-scale projects...
Crucially, Cincinnati gave Hadid the confidence to win a stream of commissions...
About The Project
The first free-standing building for the Contemporary Arts Center, founded in Cincinnati in 1939 as one of the first institutions in the United States dedicated to the contemporary visual arts. The Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art provides spaces for temporary exhibitions, site-specific installations and performances, but not for a permanent collection. Other program elements include an education facility — The UnMuseum® — offices, art preparation areas, CAC Storeand public areas.
Location: 44 E 6th St, Cincinnati. The building is situated on the NW corner of Walnut Street and East Sixth Street in downtown Cincinnati. The site is across Walnut Street from a recently completed performing arts facility, the Aronoff Center for the Arts (designed by César Pelli), in a developing downtown cultural and entertainment area known as the Backstage District.
» Download conceptual drawings, architectural renderings (ZIP 1.65MB)
Contact us about renting the breathtaking spaces within this iconic building.
David P. Crafts
Charles Desmarais, Former Director
Richard H. Rosenthal, Chair, Board of Trustees
James E. Rogers, Co-Chair, Campaign Cabinet
J. Joseph Hale, Jr., Co-Chair, Campaign Cabinet
KZF Incorporated, Cincinnati
Donald L. Cornett, Mark Stedtefeld
11,000 square feet
80,000 square feet
$34 million (including land acquisition and endowment)
Major Design Features:
To draw in pedestrian movement from the surrounding areas and create a sense of dynamic public space, the entrance, lobby and lead-in to the circulation system are organized as an "Urban Carpet." Starting at the corner of Sixth and Walnut, the ground curves slowly upward as it enters the building, rising to become the back wall. As it rises and turns, this Urban Carpet leads visitors up a suspended mezzanine ramp through the full length of the lobby, which during the day functions as an open, daylit, "landscaped" expanse. The mezzanine ramp continues to rise until it penetrates the back wall, on the other side of which it becomes a landing at the entrance to the galleries.
In contrast to the Urban Carpet, which is a series of polished, undulating surfaces, the galleries are expressed as if they had been carved from a single block of concrete and were floating over the lobby space. Exhibition spaces vary in size and shape, to accommodate the great range of scales and materials in contemporary art. Views into the galleries from the circulation system are unpredictable, as the stair-ramp zig-zags upward through a narrow slit at the back of the building. Together, these varying galleries interlock like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, made up of solids and voids.
The building's corner location led to the development of two different, but complementary, facades. The south facade, along Sixth Street, forms an undulating, translucent skin, through which passersby see into the life of the Center. Offices - organized along this side to provide daylit working environments and views of the city *mdash; provide the facade with human animation. The east facade, along Walnut, is expressed as a sculptural relief. It provides an imprint, in negative, of the gallery interiors.
Performance space: 2,366 sf
Lobby: 1,160 sf
Lobby: 3,512 sf
Reception: 184 sf
Museum shop: 960 sf
Galleries: 6,145 sf
Offices: 3,737 sf
Galleries: 5,442 sf
Offices: 1,379 sf
Board Room: 834 sf
Members' Room: 540 sf
Galleries: 4,854 sf
UnMuseum: 6,621 sf
Total Gallery Space: 16,441 sf
Performance Space: 2,366 sf
Education Space: 6,621 sf
Total Building Square Footage: 82,265 sf
Competition Design Team:
Office of Zaha Hadid: Zaha Hadid, Shumon Basar, Oliver Domeisen, Jee-Eun Lee, Terence Koh, Marco Guarinieri, Stephane Hof, Woody K.T. Yao, Ivan Pajares, Wasim Halabi, Nan Atichapong, Graham Modlen
KZF Incorporated, Cincinnati
Donald L. Cornett, Mark Stedtefeld, Dale Beeler
Office of Zaha Hadid, Ed Gaskin, Ana Sotrel, Jan HŸbener, David Gerber, Christos Passas, Sonia Villaseca, James Lin, Jee-Eun Lee, Oliver Domeisen, Helmut Kinzler, Patrik Schumacher, Michael Wolfson, David Gomersall
Turner Construction Company
Craig Preston, Bill Huber
THP Limited, Inc., Cincinnati
Shayne Manning, Murray Monroe
Ove Arup and Partners, New York/London
Andrew Nicol, Richard Cowell
Ron Chapman, Gary Eodice
Steven R. Keller & Associates
Charles Cosler Theatre Design, Inc.
Office for Visual Interaction, Inc. (OVI)
Jean M. Sundin, Enrique Peiniger
Edward Woodman, David Grandorge
Chris Dopheide, Thomas Knüvener, Sara Klomps, Bergendy Cook, Florian Migsch, Sandra Oppermann, Ademir Volic (presentation model)