We really, really want to like the proposed new Miami Art Museum design from Herzog and de Meuron but...
Our hopes have fallen as flat as the new building's roof. Unlike Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, it doesn't jump out and grab our soul.
And, it makes us anxious. It looks less than hurricane proof-- despite reassurance from a Herzog/de Meuron spokesperson that the post and beam design will be "extra stiff" (perhaps Viagra should be hit up for naming rights. Seriously). We suspect the first major hurricane to hit Miami will make MAM Gone with the Wind. The hanging vines are cool, but again we believe they will be scattered like soggy flotsam after the first summer thunderstorm. Perhaps the architects from Basel should have spent time in a hurricane before setting pencil to paper.
Not to sound completely negative, we do like the "floating" gallery space and the open-air feeling of the design-- which will come in handy with the first tidal surge. It reminds us of Gehry's design for an extension of the New York Guggenheim that was nixed after its projected costs approached a billion dollars. His titanium "clouds" floated over the water.
We also like how the Basel Boys' design beckons everyone unlike the current museum which is cut off from the public by imposing walls.
But then we read that the underground parking garage is "exposed." The last thing I want to see is a car at the museum, to be reminded of the rising cost of gas and a world just outside the door that is reeling and may soon collapse from all kinds of economic horrors.
In any event, this is a working model as Terence Riley, director of the museum, takes pains to point out more than once in today's Miami Herald article and on the video that can be found here. Changes undoubtedly will occur. Hopefully.
UpDate (9/19/08): Here's an example of what we could have had had there not been a convocation of sycophants living and working in Miami. It's the Gehry designed Guggenheim for Abu Dhabi. Click the image to make it larger.
UpDate (11/2/08): Or we could have had something like this, Zaha Hadid's 7,500s.f. Chanel Pavilion, a traveling homage to the company's famous purse "2.55." It is currently on display in New York City's Central Park until November 9th before its 700 pieces are dismantled and reassembled in London. Too bad Miami isn't worthy enough to make the cut. There couldn't be a more fitting city for it during Art Basel (December 4-7th).
Or place: Bicentennial Park, on the same plot of land reserved for the second rate Herzog & de Meuron monument to stunted dreams. It would look great sitting along the water's edge in Bicentennial Park and would speak volumes of what we could have had instead of what we will have, a flat roofed auto mall that instead of lifting our spirits and reminding us of our potential as humans, squashes all hope with uninspiring design. Perhaps that building, following the skyrocketing rate of suicides attributed to its opening, will be required by law to post this sign in the county's three official languages of English, Spanish, and Creole to the unsuspecting: Abandon All Hope to Those Entering Here.
MVB suggests we buy the Chanel Pavilion on clearance sale after it has its run and make it our new art museum. The Herzog & de Meuron can be built where it rightly should go: along the Palmetto Expressway with all the other car dealerships. I'm sure Maroone AutoWorld will be able to use it for another one of its brands. And, although the Chanel Pavilion may seem small, it is more than enough space for Miami's public art collection which, if we are not mistaken, contains a handful of paintings and a couple of sculptures. To see a slide show of the Chanel Pavilion in NYC, click here. To see the official site for the traveling exhibit, click here. It includes a slide show about the building's design (Exhibition/Statement) narrated by Ms. Hadid.