Archive for the 'MAM' Category

Transitography 51: Museum Transit

Transport, originally uploaded by

I was scanning through images on Flickr, when I came across the Tram which transports visitors to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I couldn’t help imagine what Miami’s Museum Park would look like if our planners would integrate the existing (currently closed) metromover station with the upcoming structures. Unlike the Getty’s mover, ours would connect the museums directly to the public transportation system rather than a parking lot at the bottom of the mountain. Do our Museum planners have this type of foresight? Or will metromover users disembark in an unsightly and inhospitable delivery bay?

Via artbabee’s Flickr…

To Learn More about the Getty’s Tram, Click Here

Miami Art Museum Exploratory Exhibit

With several of our readers expressing doubts (some outright disdain) about the recently revealed design for the new Miami Art Museum, I recommend attending the exhibition at the present day MAM for any of those interested in finding out more.

Although still a work in progress (and the title of the exhibit) there is much to be gleaned from the show, including insights into the process of the architects. One element I was excited to see was the detailed, artful execution for the roof. All of the residents along the Biscayne corridor should be happy to see this, in light how little consideration is usually given to the roof of any building. The American Airlines Arena was good enough to employ a plane graphic making the roof acceptable and advertisement. The new MAM however will read more as a modernist composition from high above. Significant even for planes flying in to MIAMI International Airport. The path of this growing institution gets more and more interesting.

Initial Thoughts On New MAM Design

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.

Breaking News: MAM Renderings

Via the Miami Herald:

”It’s an original Miami building,” said museum director Terence Riley. “It’s not New York; it’s not London. Right away, it has an iconic quality. But what I’m really excited about is that it appears it’s going to be a fantastic museum.”

The design also was inspired by what Riley referred to as a classic example of South Florida ”folk architecture” — Stiltsville.

Inside, visitors will find a museum that does not, in Riley’s words, ”aspire to be a mini-MOMA or a mini-Tate,” alluding to museums with encyclopedic collections of modern art. Rather, Riley wants to build a collection that focuses on specific artists and offers broad overviews of artistic movements.

We’ll be back with some commentary and thoughts once we have the chance to review the plans over the weekend…Stay Tuned…

Click here for the Video

A Precursor of Sorts

Having recently attended the Richard Serra exhibit at MoMA, I wanted to talk briefly about what is possible for Museum Park. I realize I have discussed this topic in some detail and I have been very interested in our reader input. The exhibit at MoMA was spectacularly attended, despite being mid morning on a weekday. The well designed museum, however, was able to accommodate the throngs of visitors quite well. Miami Art Museum will obviously never be the MoMA, but the visit did re-affirm my belief that the museums belong in Museum Park. Unlike MoMA, where there is only the crowded sculpture garden for attendees to recover from museum fatigue, without ending their visit, in Miami visitors will have all of the beautifully re-designed park green space. I fully expect the park to become gloriously utilized.

The energy and vibration of the crowds was astounding. The exhibit continued on the second floor where the sculptures, weighing literally hundreds of tons, seemingly a threat to the structural soundness, were safely on display because even that detail was pre-analyzed and managed by the thorough design team led by Terence Riley. He was not the architect, and he was certainly not the sole force behind the new MoMA, however, I believe that he is largely responsible for the overwhelming success of the construction of the new facility, and the presentation of it, to the world and is now bringing all of that experience to the project at hand, MAM. I think we who love Miami are in for a great civic experience.

Musings on Sun, Ocean and Sky

As politicians come and go. As towers rise and fall. The elemental qualities of a destination like Miami never cease to be a point of inspiration, desire and destiny for many global citizens. Regardless of the whims of of markets, and the pain of mistakes made along the way, Miami is so uniquely endowed it will perpetually blossom. It begs the opportunity to cause the best.


It has been announced, to the excitement of many, that the new design for Miami Art Museum will be announced during ART BASEL 07. This couldn’t be more appropriate considering that the architects hometown is in fact Basel Switzerland.
I thought it would be a good time to consider just what we might be in for. Here are several images of recent projects by the duo of Pritzker Prize winning architects.Whether it be residential interiors in NYC, or a stadium in Germany one confounding truth is that their work is so varied and site specific, it is almost impossible to even attempt to forecast any design model for Miami.For those eagerly awaiting the unveiling, I hope this little taste helps.


Museum Park Discussion

This extraordinary image posted at Skyscrapercity by James Good illustrates the need for revitalization for downtown’s premier park space. As well as how appropriate the location is for Museums with the Metromover stop already in place. The museums will be a great buffer for the park from the intrusive traffic of the highway beside the park. I am also interested in hearing thoughts from our readers regarding the somewhat sensitive issue of the need for, specifically, green park space.

Is it unfair to compare Miami to other cities in terms of green park space when across the causeway is the enormous public space, Miami Beach. I assure you I am a strong supporter for park space in Miami proper, but I feel there is an entirely different analysis required based on the unique quality of the beach. Being the single most obvious draw for all of South Florida residents, the beach almost creates a requirement of other city parks to include an attraction, if they are to be fully utilized. While some would propose a stadium or a waterpark, it seems that the museums are the perfect, compatible solution, in keeping with the desired qualities of a public green space.

What Green space?

It’s an eyesore, one of the greatest wasted public spaces in the city (a dubious achievement in a city already notorious for wasting public space,) and a derelict haven for homeless and illicit activity, yet groups are forming at an alarming rate to “preserve” this swath of land for what it is. It’s Bicentennial Park and the controversy has evolved around the idea of consuming just a fraction of the parks’ acreage to construct new iconic structures for two museums. The fact that MNU and members of the Urban League of Miami have spoken up against the Museum Park plan is appalling if not downright horrendous. I quote from the UEL’s Vision statement:

“We see preserved natural resources, increased density in urban areas with sufficient existing infrastructure and along mass transportation corridors within the urban development boundary. There are more greenways, water access, pedestrian friendly parks, improved historic neighborhoods and landmarks still recognizable and protected.”

The Museum Park plan falls in line with everything UEL “stands” for. The Museum Park plan centralizes the museums, within the urban core. They will be located with easy access of public transit and within the region of the city most likely to continue witnessing densification and a renewal in urban life. Most importantly, the museums will present an actual use for the park, making it safe, actually usable, and a destination within its own right. They claim to be fighting for a preservation of green space, but I can’t help ask myself which park they are talking about, take a look at its current state and decide for yourself:

The Plan:

For High Resolution images and a full detail plan of the park, click here… More on this issue later…

Museum Park Now!

A recent article in The Biscayne Times discussed the possibility of Museum Park going back to the drawing boards, at least to a certain extent. I find it hard to believe that the debate over Bicentennial Park/Museum Park still goes on as some of the greatest architects in the world are currently designing museums for the space.
The complaint over rising expenditure will only be exacerbated by this continuous bait and switch over the future of the city’s greatest park, long since a derelict shame for the great city of Miami. There is a constant grousing over the lack of public waterfront access, and yet one of the proposed solutions would be to infill the waterway adjacent to the park, diminishing the waterfront footage by as much as fifty percent. The idea of using landfill from the tunnel project will push the execution of Museum Park back by years.
The park as it is designed now is a stunning example of dynamic urban planning. The structures of the two museums occupy only a small fraction of the green space of Bicentennial Park and will create a vibrant cultural intersection for this valuable piece of publicly held real estate. The current design gives the parkgoer many, many, diverse options to experience the waterfront and green space in a thrilling new downtown of exceptional design quality.

The selection of Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron to design the new Miami Art Museum is a coup of historical scale. One only has to look at the success of the new DeYoung Museum, in the middle of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, to leave themselves craving the realization of such a park for Miami, now.The cultural campus being created by the trifecta of the Carnival Center and the two new museums will be absolutely world class. The fulfillment of which defines true great urban environments. I have walked by this park hundreds of times, mourning its potential and wondering if we will all live to see it come to its fruition.

Furthermore, as pointed out in a recent SSC posting by Rx727sfl2002, the park is to0 deep (distance from waterfront to Biscayne Boulevard) to ensure the security of parkgoers. The museums would provide lighting and security that would render the park much more user friendly even into the evening hours.As several of the exciting elements of the new downtown near completion it is unfortunate that Museum Park is still a distant reality. There will soon be a decisive moment in the growth of Miami and it’s perception by people around the globe. It would be a disservice not to have the greatness of this Museum Park as part of that moment, particularly when the process has very carefully come this far, under the watchful eye of those most qualified.

Terence Riley being named the director of the Miami Art Museum was yet another coup, whose enormous benefits cannot be understood at this early date. His time as the architecture and design director of MoMA in NYC and his overseeing the complete redesign and construction of that institution clearly show we are in for greatness in Miami.

As a member of the community who treasures the unique natural wonders of Miami, I can only hope that we honor and highlight those qualities with Museum Park and its museums as a scintillating backdrop.

Photo Credits: JamesGood, Marshall Astor/Life of the Edge, Kevotravel, The Tables Have Turned