Miami, Florida is booming with new architectural projects by big names: everything from new condominums by BIG,to the new Miami Beach Convention Center. So why are so many big projects migrating to Miami Beach? The city is turning itself into an American cultural and civic center.
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Take, for example, the cultural institutions along Lincoln Road. The new addition of Herzog & de Meuron’s Parking Garage satisfies a necessity while also providing a rich, cultural gathering space, thanks to its designed social functions. The architecture breaks out from the anticipated form of the “concrete box for cars” and instead turns it into something that fits within the context of the neighborhood, physically and programmatically. The firm will also be expanding the Miami Art Museum, scheduled to reopen as the new Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in 2013.
There are also many cultural restoration projects in the works. The Bacardi Building, a modernist tower designed by Enrique Gutierrez in 1969 will be restored by Frank Gehry to house studios, offices and housing for artists of the National Young Arts Foundation. The exterior, which features a rich mosaic, will remain untouched.
What is it about Miami that is motivating developers to bring in renowned architects? In an article in Architect Magazine by Ian Volner, architects Herzog & de Meuron admit that the culture, weather, food and community are major attractions for Miami. But its history of Art Deco architecture and its obsession with air-conditioned, indoor spaces, are some of the negative characteristics that their new design for the Miami Art Museum hope to address. In their design, the heavy temple-like structure of the exterior is offset by the openness of the interior spaces, the abundance of hanging vegetation, and ample shaded outdoor spaces. Note those motifs, and recognize them even in the parking garage on 1111 Lincoln Road. Like the Miami Art Museum, Herzog & de Meuron’s design for the parking garage incorporates as much outdoor space as possible, shading, and vegetation.
With the real estate market in Miami booming, the city has the opportunity to reinvent itself with a contemporary architecture, a refined sense of culture and community and with the assistance of talented and respected architects and designers. We look forward to watching as these projects develop.
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