MIAMI BEACH — A new cultural center designed by Rem Koolhaas with OMA is aiming to give Miami Beach a year-round multidisciplinary arts hub. North of the main Art Basel Miami Beach activity, at 33rd Street and Collins Avenue, the Faena Forum is on track to open in 2016.
Last week, in conjunction with the art fairs, developer Alan Faena led a preview tour of the space. The opulent Faena Hotel opened across the street last week — complete with a gold Damien Hirst skeleton on the patio — as part of a masterplan to transform this stretch of Miami Beach into a vital cultural district. It’s a strategy Ximena Caminos, director of Faena Forum and Faena’s partner, called “urban acupuncture,” and an approach that Faena has applied in his hometown of Buenos Aires with the Faena Art Center. In addition to the hotel and cultural center are elements like condominiums designed by Foster + Partners and retail and parking buildings by OMA.
Koolhaas and OMA’s forum structure has the character of Art Deco spiked with Brutalism, appropriate for the mid-century flavored environs of Miami Beach. White on concrete will be accented with red throughout the building. A cantilever breaks up the cylindrical half of the building that faces the Atlantic Ocean-side of Collins Avenue, while the cube-shaped back borders the Indian Creek. These two volumes will contain a few different performance, visual art, and flexible programming spaces, including a 40-foot domed theater with a gleaming oculus inspired by the Pantheon, and a more subdued pit encircled by a staircase that will double as a lobby. A walkway spirals over the dome, and in the cube are areas that will be used for exhibitions.
While the building was once scheduled to open this month, its completion has been delayed until next year with the exact launch date not yet set. There are plans for its art programming to include a processional performance in the fall, a commission from choreographer Pam Tanowitz, and a staging of Tree of Codes, a performance collaboration between Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson, and Jamie xx recently presented at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.
It’s hard to gauge just how Faena Forum will fit into the area, and if it can draw an audience outside of the Art Basel Miami Beach crowd. The building, with its curving shape and asymmetrical geometric windows, has a chance to have a subtly commanding architectural presence, as long as it can stand out amid the luxury hotels and condos rising alongside.
Faena Forum is planned to open in 2016 at 33rd Street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida.
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