Friday, November 17, 2006

Calatrava Miami?

MVB doesn't know how it was back in ancient Athens 2,500 years ago when they were building the Parthenon, whether or not the citizens had any input in the design, but for what it's worth, as citizens of Miami, we're suggesting that we go for the "big one" when erecting the next building on the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami.

In a rare example of the public sector using a visionary approach in solving a problem, the college recently ran a full page color ad on the back of the Miami Herald's Business Monday tabloid looking for partners to develop "one of the last parcels of undeveloped land on Biscayne Boulevard" which they own. Realizing they need another 250,000 s.f. for an Arts and Humanities Center, they decided it would be a win-win situation for private developers to build the structure in exchange for "air rights."

It's amazing that this property is still available. Just south of the Freedom Tower and the American Airlines Arena, Lot 1 (see map) hopefully will attract an equally visionary deep pockets developer to take them up on the offer with a landmark design that mixes office and living space with the college's needs.

Hopefully, too, the building won't be anything subtle. As a "beacon" to those around the world searching for an education, it should stand out from the crowd-- and not just the buildings around it, but also all the others in all the cities around the globe that claim and will claim to have the tallest buildings. Miami should raise the bar high enough that we, as proud citizens of south Florida, can claim bragging rights that will last at least a century (2,500 years might be asking too much).

To perk the digital ether, we've Photoshopped Santiago Calatrava's proposed world's tallest Chicago tower onto the Miami Dade college site. We think it looks pretty good there. Actually, Calatrava's design would look good anywhere-- especially next to an actual Miami proposal for the world's tallest condos called Empire World Towers.

Hopefully seeing this MVB proposal will start people thinking about the really big picture that speaks to the intangible aspects of the human heart with an architecture that lifts the spirit and sparks the imagination like the Parthenon has done for mankind all these years.

Perhaps a Pericles, the visionary Athenian politician who gave the world the Parthenon, will rise above the pettiness of local politics and take a stand for bold vision by simply requiring that the design will be this new millennium's Parthenon.

Miami is in a unique place in time that probably won't come around for another hundred years before the towers that are being built today are torn down and replaced with newer models. We should leap at this opportunity to snare the skyscraper title. In fact, we should look at it as our civic duty-- just like the ancient Athenians did. Let's make Biscayne Boulevard the "Boulevard of the Giants."

You can read more regarding this proposed partnership on the college's web site.

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