Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art

In Cincinnati, the architect Zaha Hadid has created a striking building which provides an impressive backdrop to contemporary works of art.

For the first time since its foundation in 1939, the renowned Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati has its very own building. This spectacular new building, designed by Zaha Hadid, has been constructed on a popular corner in the city centre. The most succinct feature of the design is the 'urban carpet' whereby the floor of the entrance area curves up from street level into the vertical rear wall of the building in one fell swoop.

Portraits of some of the movers and shakers behind this ambitious project in America’s mid-west were captured by photographer Chris Cone in the context of the opening ceremony: seen here, architect Zaha Hadid with the director of the CAC, Charles Desmarais.

Mark Stedtefeld, partner in the locally executing architectural office KZF Inc. (left), and Ed Gaskin from the offices of Zaha Hadid, on one of the impressive escalators.

Lois and Richard Rosenthal, the donators after whom the new building owes its name. The married couple and former publishers pit themselves with great commitment into cultural and social projects.

To take account of the highly varied media and formats of contemporary art, no two galleries of the CAC are the same. In this upwardly opening room the gigantic 'Cloud' by the artist Inigo Manglano-Ovalle has found its home - illuminated by carefully focused Stella spotlights which are track-mounted in ceiling channels.

Other works of art, new room situations - once again, Stella spotlights are put to use.

The most varied of lighting tasks in the museum can be accomplished with spotlights from the Stella range, thanks to the wide selection of different lamps that can be fitted. Equipping the museum with uniformly designed spotlights considerably simplifies usage and maintenance. And during such tasks, the well-thought out details of the Stella spotlights, such as lockable hinge joints and the hinged snoot for lamp replacement, really come into their own.

The brilliant light of the vertically overhead Stella spotlights even becomes an integral part of the artwork with the 'Global V' disco ball installation by John Armleder: myriads of reflected lights flicker across the wall of the gallery.

For the interactive children's museum, the 'Un-Museum', in the sixth floor (above), the designers consciously opted for a different lighting concept: flush-mounted Hi-trac tracks either carry Pollux spotlights on track inserts or are used as fluorescent luminaires.

The light in the entrance area (to the right) is composed of a diffuse component from opaquely covered trenches of light and directed light from Gimbal recessed ceiling mounted directional luminaires.


44 East 6th Street, Ecke Walnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Tel. ++1 (513) 345.8400 :
Fax ++1 (513) 721.7418

Opening hours:
Monday 11am - 9pm, 5pm-9pm free admission
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 11am - 6pm
Thursday 11am - 9pm
Saturday 12am - 6pm

Charles Desmarais, Contemporary Arts Center

Zaha Hadid

Locally executing architects:
KZF Incorporated, Cincinnati
Donald L. Cornett, Mark Stedtefeld

THP Limited, Inc., Cincinnati
Shayne Manning, Murray Monroe

Lighting design:
Office for Visual Interaction, Inc. (OVI)
Jean M. Sundin, Enrique Peiniger

Floor area:
11,000 sq. ft / approx. 1,022 sq. m

Total area:
80,000 sq ft / approx. 7,400 sq. m

Gallery area:
16,441 sq ft / approx. 1,530 sq. m

Construction costs:
34 mil. US-$
(incl. land and endowment capital)

Commencement of construction:
May 2001

May 2003

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