This year’s Art Basel/Design Miami was a wash. The tallest stilettos could not save feet from floodwaters that inundated streets and forced partygoers under small tents. Even when it’s not raining, water bubbles up through stormwater grates and sewers, a result of the city’s porous limestone bedrock.
On November 6, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) launched the Design Office for Urbanization, a program that will draw on resources from the school’s three departments to address the “social conditions associated with contemporary urbanization” through applied design research projects.
The Miami Beach Design Review Board has unanimously approved the scaled-back renovation of the city’s convention center. The $500 million project is being led by Fentress Architects with Arquitectonica covering the structure’s facade, and West 8 overseeing landscape design. As AN wrote last month, despite the center’s rippling aluminum exterior, the overall plan doesn’t quite pack the punch of the more dramatic (and more expensive) one drawn up by Rem Koolhaas. That plan came out of the epic head-to-head matchup between Koolhaas and his former student, Bjarke Ingels. Koolhaas ultimately won, but the design was scrapped, so here we are.
After months of fierce rivalry and contentious one-upping, Rem Koolhaas’ OMA has beat out Bjarke Ingels (BIG) in the competition for the Miami Beach Convention Center commission. At times, it appeared as if BIG was in the lead, but OMA crept up and ultimately took home the prize.
OMA has proposed a $600 million overhaul of the 52-acre convention center to build a more integrated facility in addition to tacking on more open space and park land. This plan calls for reconfiguring the layout of the convention center to provide enhanced access to Lincoln Road, green space, and existing hotel on the beach.
(Editor’s Note: FXFOWLE Architect’s PR head, Karen Bookatz, offers a brief, Instagrammed account of architecture and design highlights at Art Basel Miami Beach 2012.)
Don’t get me wrong: I love art and I love attending art fairs. They provide one a unique opportunity to see what’s fresh and new in the art and design industries—or whatever trade is being rep’d—every few months. For me, however, a booth is a booth is a booth. Art fairs must continue to find new ways of further distinguishing themselves or otherwise run the risk of conventionality.
What Frieze did last May with SO-IL’s tent design (and to a lesser extent, Bade Stageberg and Cox’s environmental design effort for The Armory Show 2012) was a major step in the right direction. Likewise, custom installations and collaborative efforts, while public relations/marketing ventures more than anything else, have proven to be undeniably effective in creating buzz and increasing visibility for the respective firm, artist, or collaborative. (This is why I was personally so adamant about my own firm’s presence—with an architectural installation/lounge project at the Miami Project art fair—at this year’s Basel.)
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Carchitecture. What happens when you hire Herzog & de Meuron to design your parking garage? People suddenly begin to push out the cars. That seems to be the case in Miami Beach according to a NY Times article on the upscale soirees and and tourists that have become common place in the uncommon structure.