Markel Center, Institute For Contemporary Art

RHEINZINK America Inc.

The Markel Center, Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will bring the most important, cutting-edge contemporary art exhibits in the world to the VCU campus and the city of Richmond. Designed by renowned architect Steven Holl, the ICA offers 41,000 sq. ft. of flexible space including an inviting 33-foot-high central forum. The ICA features a dynamic slate of changing exhibitions, performances, files and interdisciplinary programs.

Steven Holl said, “We designed the ICA to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that will both illuminate and serve as a catalyst for the transformative possibilities of contemporary art. The fluidity of the design allows for experimentation and will encourage new ways to display and present art that will capitalize on the ingenuity and creativity apparent throughout the VCU campus.”

In keeping with VCU’s master sustainability plan, the ICA incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and environmentally conscious design elements and makes use of numerous natural resources.

The exterior for the contemporary design is highlighted with 28,000 sq. ft. of RHEINZINK roof and wall panels. According to Steven Holl Architects, “The prePATINA blue-grey RHEINZINK exterior interfaces with clear and translucent glass walls and skylights that infuse the building with natural light and lessen reliance on nonrenewable energy. The zinc shares the same greenish-gray tonality as the matte glass, giving the building a shifting presence from monolithic opaque to multifarious translucent depending on the light.”

The custom cassette panels were designed and fabricated by RHEINZINK systems partner A. ZAHNER Company, Kansas City, MO. The open joint metal panel rain screen system utilized 1.75mm RHEINZINK.

According to ZAHNER project manager John Owens, “The 1.75mm zinc is a little heavier than normal but that’s what the architect wanted.” ZAHNER provided 1,200 total panels, of which 200 were curved. “We cut those panels radially as needed to fit the curved aluminum frame.  All of that fabrication was done in our shop.”

Gary Davis, ZAHNER’s director of marketing, added, “We developed multiple panel systems using RHEINZINK materials on a supply-only basis. To create museum-quality edges and detailing, ZAHNER digitally defined the scopes of work and fabricated from our 3-D model. Preceding construction tolerances were dealt with in a timely manner.”

Installation of the RHEINZINK panels was done by Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal, Wheeling, WV.

The project is designed to meet LEED Gold Certification standards, according to Steven Holl Architects.

About RHEINZINK America Inc.

RHEINZINK America, Inc. is a North American provider of architectural zinc used in the fabrication of roofing, facades, rainware and architectural details. For more information visit

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