The competing Miami Beach Convention Center development teams South Beach ACE (Developers Robert Wennett and Tishman, starchitect Rem Koolhaas, landscape architect Raymond Jungles) and Portman-CMC (Developer Ugo Columbo, starchitect Bjarke Ingels, landscape architects West 8) faced off last week at a public meeting with a deluge of ideas and technicolorful imagery for the convention center site. Here, we present a recap of what they've been dreaming.
First up, Rem Koolhaas and Raymond Jungles:
Signature Feature: Open up the rear of the Jackie Gleason Theater's stage area towards an outdoor auditorium so performances can be presented in both directions. Restore the theater to its original midcentury look.
The Convention Center: Open up the facades on the east and west sides with a hanging roof on broadly spaces support columns, making the convention halls visible from the exterior. Use the vast roof as a platform for a ballroom over Hall D, a hotel tower, and a jogging track. Rooftop green spaces, a hotel pool deck, and an array of solar panels (and a farmer's market?) will be up there as well.
Surprise Guest: An as-yet-unnamed but supposedly very high level cultural partner is in the works to occupy a new building between the outdoor auditorium and Miami Beach City Hall. Maybe the Guggenheim? Nobody knows. It's a surprise!
Miami Beach City Hall: The existing city hall stays put, but gets more gardens and a fabulous fountains.
Retail: Some fabulous new retail connecting the area with Lincoln Road, including on the ground level of the 17th Street Parking Garage.
Hotel: The 800 room hotel tower goes on the SW corner of the roof of the convention center.
Landscaping & Parks: Raymond Jungles gone wild! He's basically creating an amazonian jungle, 20 foot high hills, canal-front pastures with tennis courts, elaborate water gardens, etc. etc. etc.
Residential: Some residential will be thrown in among the gardens, along the canal, above the retail establishments in the center of the site, creating an 'urban jungle' thing.
[Ingels & West 8]
Next, Bjarke Ingels and West 8:
Signature Feature: A european-style public plaza wedged between the Convention Center and City Hall, with a new theater on the SE side and shopping/retail/etc. on the NW. Plant Royal Poincianas in the plaza.
The Convention Center: Add a ballroom to the north side of the convention center, near the canal, and/or a ballroom to the west side of the public plaza.
Landscaping & Parks: Create a string of parks linking the New World Symphony Soundscape (also designed by West 8) with the central plaza and Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, which would create a spine of green stretching from Lincoln Road all the way to the Collins Canal.
Hotel: The Jackie Gleason Theater is replaced by a new hotel set back from Washington Avenue with lush greenery in between. An entirely new theater will be built along side the central plaza.
Residential: Strips of residential 5-7 stories high will buffer the site from residential neighborhoods to the east and west.
Retail: New retail areas scattered around, concentrating south of the plaza, handled by the Bal Harbour Shops people.
City Hall: The same ol' City Hall will stay put, but with a prominent site on the plaza.
Surprise Guest: Cirque du Soleil, which apparently elicited a collective 'yawn' from everyone at the meeting.