How would architect Rem Koolhaas, who is currently working on a project for the Saxony Hotel over on the beach, and is one of the leading contenders in the competition for the Miami Beach Convention Center expansion, have designed the (at that time still unnamed) Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, across the bay? Back in 1994 Koolhaas, who is so prominent in the architecture world that ice cream trucks parody his name, studied the site and submitted a proposal that's simultaneously rather blocky, and freaky looking. It's still up on his website, along with a very-Koolhaasian description that deserves to be quoted verbatim:
The building was sited on the Sears site. East-west through its center runs a high-rise technical zone that incorporates the Opera stagetower and the reverberation chamber of the concert Hall.
To reinforce the existing urban tissue those parts of the Building most active in the daytime are concentrated in the north in a profile that carefully mediates between the existing and the new. Black Box and Studio establish a direct relationship with 14th street. On the Biscayne Boulevard corner, the Burdines Building preserves a flavour of history. It is used for educational programs, functions and can also act as an entrance to the Concert Hall.
Faceted like jewels - one dark, the other light - the two auditoriums are directed to the south for maximum visibility from the sea, the highway and downtown.
So far the consultants have elaborated designs that guarantee acoustic and technical perfection, but the Opera and the Concert Hall are public buildings: it is our task to provide a setting that makes the experience of visiting an event. In the Paris Opéra, (the most successful precedent), the space reserved for foyer, lobby and grand staircase - the space for public display - exceeds that of the auditorium itself; in Miami, by joining the public areas reserved for the two individual auditoriums, we create a 3-dimensional "mixing chamber", between them that will be an experience in itself. Negotiating the level differences playfully like the Guggenheim Museum, this continuous in-between-building organizes the two flows, but also turns the sum of visitors in a larger civic collective.
The bigger scale of the combined building not only eliminates waste - one system of elevators/escalators serves the two halls, one system of catering. It also creates diverse surfaces that are not mere dependencies of the two halls, but that can be used as "rooms" for more and more diverse functions such as fundraising, banqueting, etc. Below the auditoriums, our concept generates large scale spaces on street level for other cultural uses, to activate Biscayne Boulevard.
The siting of the building and the organization of the program aim to respect and reinforce the fragile urban context. By consolidating the two elements in a single block, we give a maximum impulse to the vigour of 14th street, reinforcing a vital connection to Overtown.
· Rem Koolhaas coverage [Curbed Miami]
· Raging Renderings Revealed For Starchitect's Saxony [Curbed Miami]
· Snohetta and Koolhaas could take Miami Beach by storm [Curbed Miami]
· Miami Performing Arts Center [OMA]
· Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwich Truck Comes To Miami [New Times]