The first free-standing building for The Contemporary Arts Center, founded in Cincinnati in 1939 as one of the first institutions in the United States dedicated to the contemporary visual arts. The new CAC building will provide spaces for temporary exhibitions, site-specific installations, and performances, but not for a permanent collection. Other program elements include an education facility, offices, art preparation areas, a museum store, a cafe and public areas. To draw in pedestrian movement from the surrounding areas and create a sense of dynamic public space, the entrance, lobby and lead-in to the circulation system are organized as an ‘Urban Carpet’. Starting at the corner of Sixth and Walnut, the ground curves slowly upward as it enters the building, rising to become the back wall. As it rises and turns, this Urban Carpet leads visitors up a suspended mezzanine ramp through the full length of the lobby, which during the day functions as an open, day-lit, ‘landscaped’ expanse that reads as an artificial park. The mezzanine ramp continues to rise until it penetrates the back wall, on the other side of which it becomes a landing at the entrance to the galleries. Photo credits: Roland Halbe, Paul Warchol.