Another Architecture

by Mitch McEwen

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    Miami Beach (a semi-private party that might continue above the flood)

    Mitch McEwen
    Jan 10, '16 5:23 PM EST

    Last month I visited Miami and witnessed the carting away of Art Basel.  On the Sunday evening that Art Basel wraps up, as well as the morning after, Miami Beach looks like a truck stop ran into the ocean.  Tents are being dismantled, beach signage points to furniture that's no longer there, and trucks park alongside each other row by row to haul off containers with global art exhibits stuffed inside.

    Visiting Miami, a few questions feel urgent--  not only to understand this unique totally weird international city, but to unpack paradoxes that feel relevant around the world.

    - How is it that temporary one week festivals (Art Basel, Winter Music Conference, etc) can define so much of Miami Beach?

    - How is it that luxury development occurs rampantly in the midst of long-term flood crises?

    - What position does architecture take in relation to these two scales of time - the pop-up city of the 1 week festivals and the probabilistic crisis of 100 year flood management?

    Over the last decade, from a very outside observer, it seems that Miami Beach is transforming along two axes, a kind of triangulation between the turn-of-the-millennium nightlife zone of South Beach, the luxury cul de sacs of North Beach / Bel Harbor, and the warehouse flexibility of the Design District.  The festivals might be considered as a spatial-temporal medium for the in-between states along these axes, a kind of social-cultural site preparation that makes the starchitecture over-determined.  Below is the quick sketch I made of this on the airplane headed back.

    Following are some snapshots of how this starchitecture of the In-Between is playing out in Miami Beach.  

    Night shots of the Faema Arts Center by OMA.

    Gilded fetish object on the ground floor of the Norman Foster designed Faena House across from the OMA.

    Herzog + de Meuron's quite lovely 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage.  While I've admired the section of this structure for years (who hasn't), visiting in person clued me in to aspects of this project -- the private landscaped roof, easy access power plugs, 4th floor level boutique -- that play up an aspect of the beach carnival, a semi-private party that might continue above the flood.

    • 1 Comment

    • martindiaz

      I love miami beach

      Jan 25, 16 8:10 pm  · 

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Posts are sporadic. Topics span architecture, urban design, planning, and tangents from these. I sometimes include excerpts of academic articles.

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