Miami adds new art museum, sign of evolution beyond the beach

Wed Dec 4, 2013 2:31pm EST
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By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - A gleaming addition to Miami's waterfront will greet the art world elite as they jet into town this week for the 12th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach: a $131 million art museum the city hopes will anchor its burgeoning cultural scene.

"Our cultural infrastructure has evolved," said Thom Collins, director of the Perez Art Museum of Miami (PAMM), which will open officially on Wednesday. "We know people come here because they want the (tropical) environment. We needed to give them something that addresses our main competition, the beach."

From sprawling, shaded verandas dotted with greenery, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed waterfront museum offers stunning vistas of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami's high rises.

Inside the yawning space, architects used rough wood flooring and ceiling-high hurricane-proof windows to allow the building to blend into the existing landscape.

"The ingredients here are cement, water, vegetation and sun, and the building should respond to these things," said Jacques Herzog, whose firm famously converted a London power plant into the Tate Modern and designed San Francisco's de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

Outside a plaza is being built designed by landscape firm James Corner Field Operations, renowned for the New York's elevated High Line park in Manhattan.


Since the first Art Basel Miami Beach, a spinoff of the fair held for decades in the Swiss city of the same name, Miami has undergone a cultural renaissance. Across from the convention center that hosts Art Basel is a Frank Gehry-designed symphony hall flanked by a large park where hundreds gather regularly to watch projections of the performances inside the building broadcast on its exterior.   Continued...

Media members stand near a work titled "For Those in Peril on the Sea" by artist Hew Locke during a tour of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in Miami, Florida December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper