A collective sigh of relief can be heard as the unveiling of this intriguing new building for the home of the Miami Art Museum is commenced. Recent memory cannot recall a time when so much anticipation over a new civic structure has captured the imagination and concern of so many. I for one am completely ecstatic. As is much reported with Herzog and DeMeuron, one never knows quite what to expect, but can usually rest assured that something of great beauty will transpire, and they do not disappoint.
The initial model and renderings for the building depict an elegant, entirely contemporary building, that manages to embrace and incorporate many of Miami’s architectural histories, and issues. With the first and third floors sheathed in glass the 2nd floor galleries appear the levitate. The generous canopied roof provides a huge amount of shaded exterior public space that will be punctuated by sculptural indigenous plants, some climbing the columns, others hanging down through a beautiful abstraction of skylights that perforate the roof. These features will go a long way to ensure the capture of bay breezes for natural cooling.

The sheltered plaza should be all that is necessary to alleviate the concerns of massive buildings overrunning the park. The visual lightness of the structure as well will serve to maintain that the natural elements of the bay and the park are heralded.

The building could well be described as quiet. Herzog and DeMeuron are known for creating architecture that is subtle restrained and delicate and yet absolutely brilliant, even scintillating, at the same time. It brings to mind other recent important museums that, while also great architecture, could be seen as boisterous and some would go as far as to say gauche, by comparison, and yet no more aesthetically satisfying.

This is an exciting time for architecture and design in Miami and we could now well have a crown jewel.

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5 Responses to Initial Thoughts On New MAM Design

  1. C.L. Jahn says:

    Huh. All I see is a bunch of stacked crates under some tarps.

    But then, I never liked cousin Helmut’s buildings either.

    (no, I’m not REALLY related to Helmut.)


  2. James Wilkins says:

    A crate is an object used for transporting. These volumes will not move. A tarp is made of cloth. I’m certain the roof will not be made of cloth.


  3. C.L. Jahn says:

    A crate is an object used for transporting…. A tarp is made of cloth.

    Well, DUH. Gee, I’m so glad that this hideous construct isn’t actually what it looks like. And yet, this structure, while not BEING crates or cloth, still LOOKS like a stack of crates under cloth. If the intent is to hearken back to the days when Miami was just a place where smugglers stopped to exchange cargo, I suppose this building is successful.

    Personally, I find nothing pleasing about it at all. “The emperor is buckass nekkid, and that ‘museum’ looks like a pile of crates under a tarp.” It reminds me of a Peace Corps encampment.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m with C.L. Jahn on the architecture of the building.

    Of course I don’t have the deep-seated hatred of humanity and urban spaces, and urge to inflict suffering on them that is necessary to appreciate Modernism.

    - Brian


  5. James Wilkins says:

    My point was that-with the analysis of ‘it looks like crates under a tarp’- for that matter any rectangular building looks like a crate, because it is rectangular. The need to apply an assignment of one thing looking like another leaves no room to ever experience a new form or composition. Imagine if a toddler who first learns what a ball is, and then could never have an orange in their experience- because they call it a ball…because it is round.

    I have heard a cylindrical tall building to be said to ‘look like roll of paper towels.’ When in truth it doesn’t look like a roll of paper towels. A roll of paper towels looks like a roll of paper towels.

    I respect your opinion, that you are not interested in the building and do not find it aesthetically pleasing.

    I think it is important to remain cognizant that it is a model- (intentionally no doubt) minimal and conceptual. I also respect that even at that, some may dislike the concept presented.

    I find it dynamic, creative, original without being absurd, and foresee a beautiful edifice.

    Anonymous- if I understand correctly you have no taste for modernism. I respect that as well.


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