Re-designing Miamis art scene

Re-designing Miamis art scene

Designing a home for some of the world’s most impressive collections of art presents a tricky task: if done right, the architecture of a gallery can re-invigorate the work within it and give the local area a new lease of life. Too grandiose or showy, and the art inside will be forgotten.

It’s a challenge that Swiss architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron have faced time and again, and now, their work on the new Perez Art Museum Miami, to contain the collection formerly housed by the Miami Art Museum, is set to redefine south Florida’s art scene.

More than just a museum space, PAMM, as it will be better known when it opens to the public in December this year, is to serve as just part of an ambitious and costly 26-acre re-development project which will include a new Science Museum as well as an enormous expanse of public park.

Herzog and de Meuron’s designs for PAMM are broad-reaching, encompassing a myriad of architectural references and cleverly fusing both new and old influences. The 200,000 square foot structure will sit raised on a plinth-like base reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple, with steps leading down towards Biscayne Bay – though in the same breath its distinctive flat roof and rectangular body brings to mind Henning Larsen’s ultra-modern Opera House in Copenhagen.

Tropical plants will tumble from the gallery’s overhanging canopies and climb columns. The greenery’s not just ornamental, either, as it will also help PAMM to attempt to cut the gallery’s energy costs by 20%.

Though PAMM’s oblong structure and clean lines are strongly cemented in the current day, there’s also futurism in the building’s conception: the interior has been designed with such versatility that walls and rooms can be added without disrupting the gallery’s functioning in a fluid manner, much like a theatre set. And as an educative centre, looking ahead has been a core focus in discerning the gallery’s design. The 120,000 square feet of interior space will house a library, an auditorium, various interactive digital media and art spaces and classrooms, as well as a restaurant and shop.

The Perez Art Museum Miami opens in December 2013. For more information visit

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