Miami celebrates then commiserates

Sharon McHugh
Wednesday 28 Oct 2009

Herzog + de Meuron unveil design for Miami Art Museum as Director swiftly exits

Architects Herzog + de Meuron unveiled its design for the new and expanded Miami Art Museum at a lecture held last week in Miami. But just four days after the announcement the museum's Director, architect and former chief curator of architecture and design at MoMA Terence Riley, announced his resignation. The news comes at a critical time in the institution’s evolution, which Riley himself said on the occasion of his hiring in 2006 “was on the cusp of becoming a leading center for art internationally”.

Having served as the museum’s director for nearly four years, during which time he greatly expanded its collection and its visibility in the art world, no reason was given for his departure which will see him resume his role as a Partner in the New York-based design studio, Keenen/Riley Architects. Riley will stay on as a consultant until June 30th 2010 and advise the museum on matters related to the new building, which is slated to open in 2013.

"We are now ready to break ground on a building that is poised to be one of the greenest art museums everbuilt in the Americas,” stated Riley. “As such, this is the right moment for me to pursueother interests and for MAM to smoothly transition to a new leader who will see this project to its fruition."

Herzog + de Meuron's 120,000 sq ft building, scheduled to break ground in spring, will be more than three times the size of the existing museum, which is solely an exhibition space, and will provide the kinds of spaces needed to transform the institution into a world class art museum. Located on the Biscayne Bay, the building is a critical piece of the city's revitalisation and will be the anchor of the 29-acre Museum Park, which will also be the furture home to the Miami Science Museum.

Designed with many green features to achieve LEED silver certification, the three storey museum is a modern temple of art set atop a raised podium and under a broad canopy that extends out from the museum's walls to create a shaded veranda and plazas below. The canopy will be strategically perforated to allow light to enter the building where needed and will have lush vegetation cascading from the openings that will transform the veranda into a garden.

The museum will house expanded gallery space and an educational complex that will contain a library, auditorium, classrooms, workshop space, and a café and store.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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