Art Guide: Architecture

Art Guide

Architecture

The new Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, offers 200,000 square feet of programmable space for the display of works of art, educational activities, relaxation and dining.  Thom Collins, PAMM's Director, gives us an inside look at the architecture's inspirations and breaks down different components of the building. 

Slide 2: Architecture
Slide 3: Inspiration
Slide 4: Hanging Gardens / Landscaping
Slide 5: Lobby / First Floor
Slide 6: Central Staircase / Auditorium
Slide 7: Gallery Typology
Slide 8: Floors, Walls and Ceilings
Slide 9: Education and Mission

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Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron
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Architecture

In September of 2006, PAMM selected the Pritzker Prize-winning, Swiss architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron to design a state of the art facility to serve Miami-Dade County and visitors from around the world with progressive art exhibitions, education, and public programs.

Ground was broken at the end of 2010 and construction began in January 2011.  At the end of that year, Jorge M. Pérez made a leadership gift of 35 million dollars, and it was agreed that the new museum should bear his name.  The remaining bricks-and-mortar funding was raised by the end of 2012 and in December 2013 the museum opened its doors.

The architects considered 1) the climate and how to best take advantage of the museum’s unique site on Biscayne Bay 2) how to best present a variety of modern and contemporary art forms and 3) how the visitor would best experience both culture and nature. This led to a design that is as elegant as it is functional. 

In September of 2006, PAMM selected the Pritzker Prize-winning, Swiss architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron to design a state of the art facility to serve Miami-Dade County and visitors from around the world with progressive art exhibitions, education, and public programs.

Ground was broken at the end of 2010 and construction began in January 2011.  At the end of that year, Jorge M. Pérez made a leadership gift of 35 million dollars, and it was agreed that the new museum should bear his name.  The remaining bricks-and-mortar funding was raised by the end of 2012 and in December 2013 the museum opened its doors.

The architects considered 1) the climate and how to best take advantage of the museum’s unique site on Biscayne Bay 2) how to best present a variety of modern and contemporary art forms and 3) how the visitor would best experience both culture and nature. This led to a design that is as elegant as it is functional. 

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Inspiration

When Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron visited Miami, they explored vernacular architecture that might inform their choices for the new building.   They were invited to cruise Biscayne Bay on a boat, and they came across Stiltsville. These homes raised on stilts over the water interested the architects for their smart adaptation to the environment.

Like Stiltsville, the three-story museum is raised on an elevated platform that protects the museum and its precious contents from flood surge.  The garage is situated below and is open, which also allows for air circulation that cools the building, one of the many passive design elements that conserves energy.

Herzog and de Meuron have a recent history of considering garages beyond their basic function. Across the bay on Miami Beach, they designed 1111 Lincoln Road, a mixed use building that is primarily a multi-floored parking garage, some commercial spaces and a residence.  It has become an icon of Miami architecture, serving as a sought out event space and a place where people find an unusual view of the city. The visitor’s experience was also considered in the design of PAMM’s garage. From their you can begin to experience the greenery of the landscape design. The base is a layer of stone for drainage and paved paths for an easy walk to the elevators or stairs. 

From the water, the architects also observed mangroves, anchored to the shore by their multiple thin roots and slender columns.  Both Stiltsville and the mangroves have withstood hurricanes.

Large concrete box-like volumes reflect the shape of the second floor galleries and appear to float weightlessly above the glass walls of the first floor, as they stretch over the terrace.  A combination of pre-cast concrete slabs and those cast on-site from crushed Florida limestone have a variety of surface textures- some are chipped, some are polished, all adding visual interest.

The roof of the building lowers the temperatures in its shade by about 13 degrees, while letting light through its latticed canopy.  The canopy is lower towards the center over the large windows – which need to be screened from direct daylight - and raised at the building’s corners, also making the structure appear lighter.

The shade of the canopy extends over the Bayfront stairs. These stairs, stretching the width of the Museum, link the building to the bay walk in Museum Park. These stairs may function as protected amphitheater seating, with the bay as a backdrop to the outdoor staging of programs.  

When Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron visited Miami, they explored vernacular architecture that might inform their choices for the new building.   They were invited to cruise Biscayne Bay on a boat, and they came across Stiltsville. These homes raised on stilts over the water interested the architects for their smart adaptation to the environment.

Like Stiltsville, the three-story museum is raised on an elevated platform that protects the museum and its precious contents from flood surge.  The garage is situated below and is open, which also allows for air circulation that cools the building, one of the many passive design elements that conserves energy.

Herzog and de Meuron have a recent history of considering garages beyond their basic function. Across the bay on Miami Beach, they designed 1111 Lincoln Road, a mixed use building that is primarily a multi-floored parking garage, some commercial spaces and a residence.  It has become an icon of Miami architecture, serving as a sought out event space and a place where people find an unusual view of the city. The visitor’s experience was also considered in the design of PAMM’s garage. From their you can begin to experience the greenery of the landscape design. The base is a layer of stone for drainage and paved paths for an easy walk to the elevators or stairs. 

From the water, the architects also observed mangroves, anchored to the shore by their multiple thin roots and slender columns.  Both Stiltsville and the mangroves have withstood hurricanes.

Large concrete box-like volumes reflect the shape of the second floor galleries and appear to float weightlessly above the glass walls of the first floor, as they stretch over the terrace.  A combination of pre-cast concrete slabs and those cast on-site from crushed Florida limestone have a variety of surface textures- some are chipped, some are polished, all adding visual interest.

The roof of the building lowers the temperatures in its shade by about 13 degrees, while letting light through its latticed canopy.  The canopy is lower towards the center over the large windows – which need to be screened from direct daylight - and raised at the building’s corners, also making the structure appear lighter.

The shade of the canopy extends over the Bayfront stairs. These stairs, stretching the width of the Museum, link the building to the bay walk in Museum Park. These stairs may function as protected amphitheater seating, with the bay as a backdrop to the outdoor staging of programs.  

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Hanging Gardens / Landscaping

The hanging gardens were conceptualized and designed by the French botanist and inventor of the vertical garden, Patrick Blanc, well known for his work around the world. 

Inside the columns of the vertical gardens are fiberglass tubes wrapped in felt.  The felt is sliced and plants are placed inside.  Different kinds of plant materials were tested to see which would thrive under local conditions.

Many of them are native to Miami.  Special attention was given to the micro-environment, for example,   the plants facing the exterior tolerate more sun and salt.

To irrigate these hanging gardens, water runs through the columns and is collected in a catch basin, then it is recirculated over the top through a series of pipes built into the columns. This system also serves to cool the terraces.

Arquitectonica GEO, an internationally known Miami landscape firm, was contracted to work with Mr. Blanc to execute his vision as well as design the gardens immediately surrounding the museum building.  Trees planted by the causeway act as a screen.  They are grouped at the corners of the building.  Close to the building, the vegetation is more tropical.  These gardens along with the large glass windows contribute to the design goal of creating an “outdoor interior,” - of bringing art and the landscape-culture and nature-close together.

The hanging gardens were conceptualized and designed by the French botanist and inventor of the vertical garden, Patrick Blanc, well known for his work around the world. 

Inside the columns of the vertical gardens are fiberglass tubes wrapped in felt.  The felt is sliced and plants are placed inside.  Different kinds of plant materials were tested to see which would thrive under local conditions.

Many of them are native to Miami.  Special attention was given to the micro-environment, for example,   the plants facing the exterior tolerate more sun and salt.

To irrigate these hanging gardens, water runs through the columns and is collected in a catch basin, then it is recirculated over the top through a series of pipes built into the columns. This system also serves to cool the terraces.

Arquitectonica GEO, an internationally known Miami landscape firm, was contracted to work with Mr. Blanc to execute his vision as well as design the gardens immediately surrounding the museum building.  Trees planted by the causeway act as a screen.  They are grouped at the corners of the building.  Close to the building, the vegetation is more tropical.  These gardens along with the large glass windows contribute to the design goal of creating an “outdoor interior,” - of bringing art and the landscape-culture and nature-close together.

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Lobby / Floor Plan

The building itself comprises three floors. The first floor consists of the lobby, galleries, and the museum shop and bistro.  The second floor houses the majority of the gallery space and collection storage. On the third floor are the staff offices as well as the Knight Education Center which houses educational studio/classrooms, a media lab, and the library. 

The door through which you enter the museum is made of teak, which is well suited for Miami’s climate.  Able to withstand a category five hurricane, PAMM’s windows are the largest of their kind in the world. They frame drastically different views on each side of the museum. On one side, you see tranquil Biscayne Bay. On the other, you see the high-rises of downtown Miami. Through these windows, art can be seen before you even enter the building, both day and night, in the Papper Gallery.

You may have noticed that you were not greeted by a gush of freezing air as you walked into the building.  Air conditioning comes up from the floors and is designed to create a gradient from outside to inside, slowly making it cooler as you walk further into the building. By raising the floor and locating the ducts underneath, cool air is delivered where it is most needed.  This approach takes advantage of the fact that warm air rises.  It requires lower velocity to move air around when it comes up from the floor and consequently lowers energy consumption as well.

The building itself comprises three floors. The first floor consists of the lobby, galleries, and the museum shop and bistro.  The second floor houses the majority of the gallery space and collection storage. On the third floor are the staff offices as well as the Knight Education Center which houses educational studio/classrooms, a media lab, and the library. 

The door through which you enter the museum is made of teak, which is well suited for Miami’s climate.  Able to withstand a category five hurricane, PAMM’s windows are the largest of their kind in the world. They frame drastically different views on each side of the museum. On one side, you see tranquil Biscayne Bay. On the other, you see the high-rises of downtown Miami. Through these windows, art can be seen before you even enter the building, both day and night, in the Papper Gallery.

You may have noticed that you were not greeted by a gush of freezing air as you walked into the building.  Air conditioning comes up from the floors and is designed to create a gradient from outside to inside, slowly making it cooler as you walk further into the building. By raising the floor and locating the ducts underneath, cool air is delivered where it is most needed.  This approach takes advantage of the fact that warm air rises.  It requires lower velocity to move air around when it comes up from the floor and consequently lowers energy consumption as well.

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Central Staircase / Auditorium

Typically in museums, auditoriums go unused much of the time. Herzog and de Meuron thought about how such a space could be maximized as a multi-functional component of the building. It is a grand central staircase to the second floor galleries and a comfortable place to rest, read, or gather for conversation.

When employed for multiple programs – screenings, performance art, lectures, and music - a curtain system can accommodate different size audiences depending on the seating configuration. The gauzy outer curtain conceals 7-layers of material that deflects and absorbs sound.  Modular seating made of cork also maximizes acoustics.

The area below offers seating for an informal presentation.

Typically in museums, auditoriums go unused much of the time. Herzog and de Meuron thought about how such a space could be maximized as a multi-functional component of the building. It is a grand central staircase to the second floor galleries and a comfortable place to rest, read, or gather for conversation.

When employed for multiple programs – screenings, performance art, lectures, and music - a curtain system can accommodate different size audiences depending on the seating configuration. The gauzy outer curtain conceals 7-layers of material that deflects and absorbs sound.  Modular seating made of cork also maximizes acoustics.

The area below offers seating for an informal presentation.

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Gallery Typology

The design is sensitive to the Museum’s need for different kinds of gallery space. Herzog and de Meuron are known for designing projects from the inside out. That is, they look at what a client needs and design around it.  PAMM’s galleries are not laid out to promote a specific path but to encourage visitors to follow their interests and form their own connections among art objects and exhibitions. There are four types of galleries that are differentiated by scale and materials.

Overview Galleries house the museum’s growing permanent collection. The galleries are interwoven spaces, a continuous connective tissue running between changing exhibitions. There are six areas of the overview galleries (2 on the first floor and 4 on the second) that allow for six thematic exhibitions of work in the collection. They will change regularly as art is rotated. The walls here are made of painted sheet rock and the cement floors are smooth and reflective.

The floors change to quarter-sawn oak planks and the walls to concrete as you enter the three Focus Galleries, which offer the viewer a concentrated look at an idea, artist, or movement.

Four Project Galleries will often contain site-specific installations and new commissioned works made by selected artists.

Two very large Special Exhibition Galleries house expansive exhibitions, including single artists surveys and large thematic or historical narratives, both organized by PAMM and partner institutions with loaned art.

Between the two special exhibition galleries and on the eastside of the building are areas for visitors to rest, gather, read, or view digital media about the exhibitions and architecture. 

The design is sensitive to the Museum’s need for different kinds of gallery space. Herzog and de Meuron are known for designing projects from the inside out. That is, they look at what a client needs and design around it.  PAMM’s galleries are not laid out to promote a specific path but to encourage visitors to follow their interests and form their own connections among art objects and exhibitions. There are four types of galleries that are differentiated by scale and materials.

Overview Galleries house the museum’s growing permanent collection. The galleries are interwoven spaces, a continuous connective tissue running between changing exhibitions. There are six areas of the overview galleries (2 on the first floor and 4 on the second) that allow for six thematic exhibitions of work in the collection. They will change regularly as art is rotated. The walls here are made of painted sheet rock and the cement floors are smooth and reflective.

The floors change to quarter-sawn oak planks and the walls to concrete as you enter the three Focus Galleries, which offer the viewer a concentrated look at an idea, artist, or movement.

Four Project Galleries will often contain site-specific installations and new commissioned works made by selected artists.

Two very large Special Exhibition Galleries house expansive exhibitions, including single artists surveys and large thematic or historical narratives, both organized by PAMM and partner institutions with loaned art.

Between the two special exhibition galleries and on the eastside of the building are areas for visitors to rest, gather, read, or view digital media about the exhibitions and architecture. 

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Floors, Wall and Ceilings

A key design challenge in a museum is how to create large-scale galleries without columns that get in the way of viewing art. In the new PAMM, some open spans are as large as 70 feet.

To achieve this, the concrete floors are made lighter with huge air-filled balls made of recycled plastic framed into the cement. Reinforcing steel or rebar also adds strength.  Recesses in the voids accommodate lighting and piping. This is the first full-scale project in the U.S. to use this system, which originated by Cobiax Technologies in Switzerland.

The interior, ambient, light is achieved with fluorescent lighting while the spotlights are incandescent. The system provides energy savings as well as an aesthetically pleasing light for viewing art.  

A key design challenge in a museum is how to create large-scale galleries without columns that get in the way of viewing art. In the new PAMM, some open spans are as large as 70 feet.

To achieve this, the concrete floors are made lighter with huge air-filled balls made of recycled plastic framed into the cement. Reinforcing steel or rebar also adds strength.  Recesses in the voids accommodate lighting and piping. This is the first full-scale project in the U.S. to use this system, which originated by Cobiax Technologies in Switzerland.

The interior, ambient, light is achieved with fluorescent lighting while the spotlights are incandescent. The system provides energy savings as well as an aesthetically pleasing light for viewing art.  

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Education and Mission

In addition to housing offices, the third floor is home to an education center open for scheduled programs and by appointment, which includes a media lab, studio classrooms, a seminar room, and a library. The sheer growth of the museum and its uniquely designed indoor and outdoor spaces will be experienced daily by a diverse public through outreach and family programs.  Additionally, over 27,000 Miami-Dade children will attend school programs; And it will be experienced by adults through performance, talks, symposia, tours and social events.  The building, now a reality due to the efforts of many over nearly a decade, positions the museum to advance its mission:

Pérez Art Museum Miami exists to improve the quality of life for individual residents of and visitors to Miami-Dade County, as well as social life in the communities they represent, by facilitating catalytic engagements with the most progressive visual arts of our time.

In addition to housing offices, the third floor is home to an education center open for scheduled programs and by appointment, which includes a media lab, studio classrooms, a seminar room, and a library. The sheer growth of the museum and its uniquely designed indoor and outdoor spaces will be experienced daily by a diverse public through outreach and family programs.  Additionally, over 27,000 Miami-Dade children will attend school programs; And it will be experienced by adults through performance, talks, symposia, tours and social events.  The building, now a reality due to the efforts of many over nearly a decade, positions the museum to advance its mission:

Pérez Art Museum Miami exists to improve the quality of life for individual residents of and visitors to Miami-Dade County, as well as social life in the communities they represent, by facilitating catalytic engagements with the most progressive visual arts of our time.

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