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First images of Adjaye’s Ruby City in Texas revealed

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The 930m² contemporary art centre is complete and set to officially open in October

Twelve years after the idea for the building was first imagined by collector and philanthropist Linda Pace, who died in 2007, the Ruby City contemporary art centre in San Antonio is now complete.

Home to the growing Linda Pace Foundation permanent collection, the 930m² building designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Alamo Architects is dedicated to showcasing work by local and international artists.

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The iconic red exterior skin of the centre is constructed of precast concrete panels fabricated in Mexico City with the rich colour diffused from natural minerals into the material. At the base of the building, the concrete has a polished finish, while above the wall becomes rough and embedded with varying shades of red glass. Two ‘crowning lanterns’ sit on top of the building, animating the roofline and bringing natural light into the gallery spaces through large rooflights. 

The same red colour of the exterior wraps into the entrance and lobby space – continuing Pace’s original concept for a ‘Ruby City’. The building emerged from an illustration of Pace’s ‘dream’ city, where all her idealised buildings are adorned with red jewels. 

The free gallery is part of a growing campus, which also includes Chris Park, a public green space dedicated to Pace’s son as well as Studio, which is an additional exhibition space presenting a curated programme of events.

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Architect’s view

My goal was to translate Linda’s idea into a building that will do justice to her legacy. It is a tremendous responsibility and one that is dear to my heart. 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. The building creates a narrative journey through the space that allows the collection to be accessed in an organic and meaningful way.

David Adjaye, founder and principal architect, Adjaye Associates

Ruby city site plan


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