After months of competition, debate, and quite a fair share of controversy (from the Miami politiicans that is), OMA and South Beach ACE have beaten BIG to win the Miami Beach Convention Center masterplan.
Despite the last-ditch efforts of the Miami politicians to keep the drama going (including a presentation on the supposed superiority of the BIG plan, due to time-sensitivity and cost-efficiency) and even the surprising revelation that negotiations with the teams had been taped (we assume to monitor corruption, as accusations of back-handed deals have haunted the vote), the Miami Commissioners approved the South Beach ACE team over the Portman-CMC team (with BIG) in a five to two vote.
The 52 acre mixed-used development will not only include an iconic new convention center and hotel, but will revitalize this underutilized area of Miami Beach with a network of undulating, green spaces that integrate into Miami’s urban fabric. As OMA Partner-in-charge of the project, Shohei Shigematsu, and Rem Koolhaas said in a statement: “We are thrilled to be chosen to develop one of the most significant urban districts in the US. Our design will reintegrate Miami’s vital convention center with its neighbors, offering new facilities as well as amplifying the character of this exciting city.”
Last month we interviewed Shohei Shigematsu about the Miami Project. Check out that interview, as well as a short video of the proposal itself, after the break…
In an attempt to transform Calgary’s corporate-centric downtown into a walkable, dynamic community, TELUS has commissioned BIG to design a mixed-use skyscraper in the heart of the Canadian city. Known as TELUS Sky, the 750,000 square foot tower is designed to “seamlessly accommodate the transformation from working to living as the tower takes off from the ground to reach the sky.”
OMA, BIG and their partnering developers have until later today to decide whether they want to alter their plans for the Miami Beach Convention Center or walk away from the competition entirely.
The city was supposed to choose between OMA’s or BIG’s proposals, which have been in the pipeline for months, in the next few weeks. However, according to the World Property Channel, the city has now – in a disappointing turn of events – decided that the $1.1 billion project should be radically downsized by removing the residential units and cutting down retail space.
It’s a reversal that will, in the words of Kevin Brass in his must-read opinion piece, remove ”the opportunity for creativity and vision. Taking out the ambition won’t make it a better project, only a smaller project. Miami Beach is providing a textbook example of how not to create a great urban space.”
Story via World Property Channel
A version of this essay was originally published in Thresholds 40: “Socio-” (2012)
Few architects working today attract as much public acclaim and disciplinary head-scratching as Bjarke Ingels. Having recently arrived in New York, this self-proclaimed futurist is undertaking his own form of Manifest Destiny, reminding American architects how to act in their own country.
While his practice is often branded by the architectural establishment as naïve and opportunistic, such criticism is too quick to conflate Ingels’s outwardly optimistic persona with the brash formal agenda it enables. In the current economic climate, there are any number of gifted purveyors of form languishing in New York City. Despite this, Ingels has somehow managed to get away with proposing a pyramidal perimeter block in midtown New York, a looped pier in St. Petersburg Florida, and an art center in Park City, Utah massed as torqued log cabin while maintaining a straight face. Why, then, is his mode of operation considered unsophisticated by so many within the discipline?
Clearly, Ingels has figured something out about harnessing and transforming “the social” that American architects would do well to identify. So, in the manner of any good conspiracy theorist in search for the hidden method, let’s go to the chalkboard, or rather, the diagram…
Over the last few months, OMA and BIG have been vying for the opportunity to redevelop the 52-acre site home to the convention center in the heart of Miami Beach. With two award-winning, international firms at the center of the showdown, the media frenzy has been intense and the public’s imagination activated. It only remains to be seen if the results, which promise to be visionary, surpass expectation. With so much on the line, we decided to sit down with both OMA and BIG and discuss how their proposals differ.
For extended coverage of both projects see “BIG Unveils Design for Miami Beach Convention Center” and “OMA Proposes Radical Redevelopment Plan for the Miami Beach Convention Center”
The design for BIG’s highly anticipated LEGO® “experience center” – a.k.a. The LEGO® House – has been released! Located in the heart of The Lego Group’s birthplace and home town of Billund, Denmark, the 7,600 square-meter building resembles “gigantic LEGO® bricks” that are “combined and stacked in a creative way to create an imaginative experience both outside and inside.”
True to form, the 30 meter-tall structure will feature several exterior and multi-level access points that will remain open year-long to its estimated 250,000 annual visitors. Aside from its roof-top gardens and 1,900 square-meter public square, attractions will include a series of exhibition areas showcasing the “past, present and future of the LEGO® idea”, a cafe and an unique LEGO® store.
Take a video tour through the building after the break…
The Miami Beach Convention Center, a giant box of a building constructed in 1957, is in desperate need of a makeover and two design teams have bravely accepted the challenge. Team 1 is dubbed South Beach ACE (Arts, Culture, Entertainment District) and is a collaboration between Rem Koolhaas‘s OMA firm, Tishman, UIA, MVVA, Raymond Jungles and TVS. Team 2 goes by the name of Miami Beach Square and includes BIG, West 8, Fentress, JPA and Portman CMC. Both proposals completely re-imagine 52 acres of prime beach real estate and cost over a billion dollars in public and private funds. So, who does it better?
Vote for your favorite after the break…
On Tuesday, a sea of green and blue flooded the Fort Lauderdale City Commission chamber to either support or oppose a BIG, $250 million multi-use development planned to infill an industrial gap on the waterfront of Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Although the majority of the crowd seemed to be in favor of the “impressive, innovative and even daring” project, concerns arose regarding the Marina Lofts’ density, height and traffic impact – many of which were appeased by developer Asi Cymbal’s decision to reduce the two 36-story towers to 28, which cut nearly 100 housing units from the project.
Other last ditch opposition efforts regarded the controversial plan to move a giant rain tree that wasn’t within the purview of the board’s review. Despite this, following an hour-long presentation by Cymbal and his staff, the Planning & Zoning board unanimously voted 9-0 in favor of the project.
More after the break…
BIG has collaborated with West 8, Fentress, JPA and developers Portman CMC to challenge an OMA- and South Beach ACE-lead team in the 52-acre Miami Beach Convention Center overhaul. With a mission to “bring Miami Beach back to the Convention Center,” BIG’s newly unveiled proposal aims to transform the “dead black hole of asphalt in the heart of one of the most beautiful and lively cities in America” into an archipelago of urban oases made up of paths, plazas, parks and gardens, which will all lead to the heart of the plan: the Miami Beach Square. This tropical centerpiece will become the front door to the convention center and the convention hotel, as well as the front lawn to a revitalized Jackie Gleason Theatre, a town square for the city hall, an outdoor arena for the Latin American Cultural Museum, and the red carpet for the big botanical ball room.
“We have devised a strategy that combines urban planning and landscape design to create a neighborhood characterized by human scale, pedestrian connections, shaded spaces with public oriented programs lining the streets and squares. A neighborhood that, depending on the season, the weekday, or even the time of day can be perceived as a lively downtown neighborhood or an inviting public park.” Bjarke Ingels, Creative Director BIG
More images and the teams description after the break…
Merete Ahnfeldt-Mollerup is associate Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. This article originally appeared in GRASP.
Miss Part 1? Find it here.
Architecture is inseparable from planning, and the huge challenge for the current generation is the growth and shrinkage of cities. Some cities, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, are growing at exponential rates, while former global hubs in the northern are turning into countrysides. In the south, populations are still growing a lot, while populations are dwindling in Europe, Russia and North East Asia. The dream of the Bilbao effect was based on the hope that there might be a quick fix to both of these problems. Well, there is not.
A decade ago, few people even recognized this was a real issue and even today it is hardly ever mentioned in a political context. As a politician, you cannot say out loud that you have given up on a huge part of the electorate, or that it makes sense for the national economy to favor another part. Reclaiming the agricultural part of a nation is a political suicide issue whether you are in Europe or Latin America. And investing in urban development in a few, hand-picked areas while other areas are desolate is equally despised.
What has the internationally awarded Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to do with Friederich Nietzsche and Charles Darwin? Quite a lot, according to founder Bjarke Ingels, who has created a powerful mixture of Nietzsche and Darwin as the philosophical foundation of BIG’s architecture.
Read Anders Møller’s fascinating article on BIG’s unusual philosophy, after the break…
Situated on a hillside in the outskirts of Torshavn, the capital of the autonomous Denmark province of Faroe Islands, the new Marknagil Education Center will seek to “establish synergies” between three educational institutions under one roof. The BIG-designed, 19,200 square meter will provide for more than 1,200 students and 300 teachers by housing the Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Torshavns Technical College and Business College of Faroe Islands in a single building, making it the largest educational building in the country’s history.
More images and the architect’s description after the break…
Danish architecture firm, BIG - led by Bjarke Ingels – has been announced as the winner of an international invited competition for the design of Europa City, a 800,000 square meter cultural, recreational and retail development in Triangle de Gonesse, France. Combining city development with an open landscape, Europa City creates a dynamic center of activity for visitors and residents, appealing to the variety of functions of city life. Europa City is situated along the route from Charles de Gaule Airport to Paris and has a wide range of programs that is part of a larger initiative to attract international tourism into the northern parts of Paris.
More on the project after the break…
Out of 140 architects considered, 12 architects have been selected by the Nobel Foundation to compete to design their new home, a Nobel Center in Blasieholmen, Stockholm. The conspicuously European selection, chosen for their “design and artistic abilities and experience working in intricate urban environments,” includes some very big names – including BIG, David Chipperfield Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, and OMA. The only non-Europeans to compete will be SANAA’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.
See the full list of competitors, and more information on the competition, after the break…
It’s official! Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG has been commissioned to collaborate with Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) and COWI to design the first public LEGO® museum in the company’s hometown of Billund, Denmark. The “LEGO® Brand House” and “experience centre” is intended to compliment the non-public “LEGO® Idea House”, which is also located in Billund.
Bjarke Ingles, founder of BIG stated: “It’s going to be looking at LEGO® from all its different aspects—LEGO® as an art form, its cultural impact. When we were doing the research for it [the LEGO® house], we realized, if you would consider it just an art museum, you would be able to fill it with so much user content of such a high quality…it is one of our great dreams at BIG that we are now able to design a building for and with the LEGO® group. I owe a huge personal debt to the LEGO® brick, and I can see in my nephews that its role in developing the child as a creative, thinking, imaginative human being becomes ever stronger in a world in which creativity and innovation are key elements in virtually all aspects of society.”
More on LEGO®’s BIG commission after the break…
There are many things that set BIG’s latest project, Amager Bakke, apart. The plant, which broke ground yesterday, will be the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world. It will be the tallest and biggest building in Copenhagen. It will house Denmark’s first ski-slope (on the roof of the plant, no less). It will emit its CO2 emissions – not as a continuous stream of smoke, oh no – but in sudden, bursting smoke rings.
However, the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy Plant is far more than the sum of its rather remarkable features. As an urban “destination in itself” and a landmark in environmental design, it’s one of the most radical representations of architecture as a means of public engagement of our time. And, what’s more, it’s a signal that BIG has finally reached maturity, truly coming into its own as a firm.
Read more about BIG’s remarkable Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant, after the break….
The Smithsonian Institution has commissioned the innovative practice of Bjarke Ingels to reimagine the heart of its antiquated Washington D.C. campus. The Danish architect has agreed to an eight- to 12- month, $2.4 million contract to draft the first phase of a master plan that seeks to dissolve the notable impediments and discontinuous pathways that plague the area.
More on this news after the break…
A BIG step forward for Vancouver’s latest mixed-use tower making international headlines, as the 497-foot tall Beach and Howe proposal has received an “enthusiastic endorsement” from the city’s design panel.
Commissioned by Canada’s real estate mogul Ian Gillespie of Westbank, the Bjarke Ingles Group-designed tower promises to add a foreign twist to Vancouver’s skyline and create a new identity for an undefined section of town at the fringe of the city’s residential area. The 700,000 square foot complex – which contains shopping, social housing and market rental apartments – was praised by the panel for anchoring itself on a nine-story podium that occupies the disused, interstitial spaces found between the Granville Street Bridge’s entry and exit ramps.
More after the break…