The Linda Pace Foundation broke ground May 31 on Ruby City, a crimson-hued two-story, $16 million museum that will hold a vast contemporary art collection begun by the late Pace, a longtime patron of the local arts. Ruby City is being located at the foundation’s space at South Flores and Camp streets. When work is finished in early fall of 2018, the structure will be empty for about six months more to permit gases produced by the new building material to disappear.
Then, some 800 paintings, sculptures, installations and video works from contemporary artists worldwide will be moved into the building prior to its spring 2019 public opening. According to the foundation, the exterior will feature “deep red panels of precast concrete with glass and mica aggregate that will shimmer in the light.” The panels will be marked by strategically placed lenses, which will overlook the existing CHRISpark space and a new sculpture garden.
Ruby City will also feature what the foundation calls a “dramatic rooftop of sloping angles and skylights that will rise to varying heights and echo cut-away spaces at the building’s base.” The entrance plaza, formed by the building’s cantilevered structure and the ground floor lobby, will share a vibrant ruby color pattern. An elegant staircase will take visitors to a series of gallery spaces, which will have concrete floors with white walls and ceilings to allow the extensive collection to be the center of attention.
“As a Jungian, Linda cultivated the power and symbolism of dreams,” foundation trustee Kathryn Kanjo wrote on the foundation’s website. “A sparkling crimson building appeared to Linda in her sleep. Using colored-pencil, she sketched the fanciful image and shared it with David Adjaye. With his bold sense of volume and materials, David has interpreted Linda’s dream city into a faceted, beckoning form, a Ruby City.” Foundation representatives said Pace believed strongly in the power of art as a crucial social force. Ruby City faces the San Pedro Creek improvement project, which is meant to turn a concrete-lined waterway, surrounded by overgrowth, into a natural creek habitat and a linear park.
The Norton Co. is the project manager, and Whiting-Turner is the general contractor. Admission to Ruby City will be free to the public.