ruby city: david adjaye-designed art center nears completion in san antonio, texas

ruby city: david adjaye-designed art center nears completion in san antonio, texas

ruby city, a new contemporary art center in san antonio, texas, will open to the public in october 2019 — 12 years after the vision for the building was first imagined by the late linda pace. designed by sir david adjaye, the building will host the permanent collection of linda pace — a collector, philanthropist, and artist who passed away in 2007. the project will provide a place where the city’s thriving creative community can experience works by both local and internationally-acclaimed artists. ‘my goal was to translate linda’s idea into a building that will do justice to her legacy,’ says david adjaye. ‘it is a tremendous responsibility and one that is dear to my heart.’

david adjaye ruby city
all images © dror baldinger / courtesy of ruby city and adjaye associates



designed by adjaye associates in collaboration with alamo architects, ruby city is inspired, in part, by the spanish missions found throughout the southwest, constructed by the spanish empire during the 16th to 19th centuries. ‘linda had a clear vision for how the institution should be an inspirational space for the community and interact with its surroundings, drawing visitors into the jewel-like structure while connecting to the san antonio landscape,’ adjaye continues. ‘the building creates a narrative journey through the space that allows the collection to be accessed in an organic and meaningful way.’

david adjaye ruby city
the 14,000 square-foot building is inspired by the spanish missions found throughout the southwest



the exterior skin consists of a precast concrete fabricated in mexico city, which has been imbued with a rich red giving the building its ruby glow. for the first ten feet up, the concrete is a polished finish, ground smoothly to be touched by passersby; above, the concrete wall is rough, sharp, and encrusted with varying shades of red glass. two crowning lanterns adorn the top of the structure, creating an animated roof-line that in turn draws natural light into the gallery spaces. the interior entrance and lobby have also been constructed in the same crimson hue, preserve pace’s original vision of a ‘ruby city’.

david adjaye ruby city
the concrete wall is rough, sharp, and encrusted with varying shades of red glass



the building’s extensive gallery space, spanning over 10,000 square-feet, introduces visitors to a selection of the over 900 artworks maintained by the linda pace foundation. meanwhile, adjacent to the museum, an accompanying sculpture garden is defined by an oval pathway that circles a wide lawn area that is annexed to its west by a field of red cast-in-place concrete with a rock salt finish.

david adjaye ruby city
an accompanying sculpture garden is defined by an oval pathway



the new building is part of a growing campus, which also includes a one-acre public green space named in memoriam to pace’s son, as well as an auxiliary exhibition space which presents curated shows and programming throughout the year. ruby city is free and open to the public year round. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

david adjaye ruby city
ruby city will open to the public in october 2019



project info:


name: ruby city
architects: adjaye associates, in collaboration with alamo architects
location: san antonio, texas, USA
set to open in october 2019

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