In case you missed it, yesterday's Miami Herald had a big, splashy cover story about a "proposed museum building splashy even for Miami", the new Fairholme Capital HQ that financial giant Bruce Berkowitz is planning for Biscayne Boulevard. The project, designed by Arquitectonica, will be a combination headquarters for his firm and a private art museum housing a "pair of monumental works by two art world legends", Richard Serra and James Turrell.
1) The design of the structure is so radical that city planners have had trouble reconciling it with the Miami 21 zoning code, "which does not anticipate a building like it, though they say it could pass muster with variations and modifications." Of course, a zoning code when created from scratch can never anticipate every possible situation.
2) City planners are concerned the anvil-shaped monolith might be too "off-putting" for a prominent site on Biscayne Boulevard. (What, a financial titan's new headquarters that happens to look like a post-apocalyptic fortress is off-putting? Never!)
3) The building's shape and dimensions were precisely tailored to display two monolithic works by James Turrell and Richard Serra. The Turrell, entitled Aten Reign, was recently the centerpiece of the artist's blockbuster exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York. The 200-foot long Serra was last exhibited in Qatar.
4) Both artists have been closely involved in the design of the building, with Turrell designing a second monumental piece that will "light up the exterior lip of the building platform at sidewalk level".
5) The concrete structure of the building will be embedded with glass fiber optics that renders the material translucent. The concrete will glow at night. The concrete also serves as a fitting background for Serra's Passages of Time, which Serra did not want set against a glass building.
6) Although it will only have one underground parking level, two public gallery levels, and five office levels, the building will be 100 feet tall to accommodate Aten Reign, which also inspired the building's shape, which gets wider as it rises.
7) To enter Aten Reign, visitors will walk down a ramp and come into the piece from below, much like the ramp at the Guggenheim. The piece will also contain one of Turrell's signature 'light rooms' at the top, a feature the Guggenheim could not fit in.
8) Aten Reign got absolutely killer reviews when it was in New York. It's pretty amazing that it's coming here.
9) The Serra piece, titled Passage of Time, will be on the podium in front of the building, and visitors will be able to walk through and around the piece. A band of glass running the entire length of the 260 foot long building without a single mullion or column to interrupt it will sit above the sculpture at just the right angle—determined by Serra—for optimal viewing.
10) The whole thing is planned to be finished by 2017.