It has been eight years in the making, come in more than $15.8 million over budget, and been mired in litigation throughout its construction, but Rafael Viñoly’s $44.3 million arts center in Colchester, England, will finally open its doors on September 25.
The “Golden Banana,” as it has been dubbed by the townspeople, is a 41,000-square-foot copper-and-aluminum-clad facility built for the arts organization Firstsite. The Colchester council hopes the center will raise the profile of this provincial town with Roman roots, located just 60 miles outside of London.
Stemming from a 2003 invited competition organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the project brief called for a multistory building on a tight site adjacent to a bus station. In a controversial move, Viñoly submitted four schemes, two of which were not on the competition site. His Golden Banana proposal, housing all of Firstsite’s galleries and outreach functions in a single crescent-shaped volume on open parkland to the east of the.........