After a high-profile design competition, Miami Beach Convention Center dials it back

Architecture Design East Newsletter
Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

Remember that exciting design competition between Bjarke Ingels and Rem Koolhaas to revamp the Miami Beach Convention Center? Remember those two bold plans, all of those exciting renderings, and the official announcement that Koolhaas had won the commission? And then remember when the Miami Beach mayor said no to the whole thing and Arquitectonica was tapped for a less-expensive renovation? Well, now there’s a new milestone in the convention center soap opera.

Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

That last part played out this summer and, a few months later, we know what the more fiscally-conservative plan will look like. Frankly, it looks more fiscally conservative. Curbed Miami, which is no fan of the new design, reported that Arquitectonica is doing the exteriors, Denver-based Fentress Architects is covering the interiors, and West 8 is overseeing landscape design. Overall, Curbed calls the new plan “more evolution than revolution.”

Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

Miami Beach Convention Center. (Courtesy Fentress Architects / association with Arquitectonica)

The most striking aspect of the $500 million design is the rippling aluminum facade that is made of fins and louvers and is attached onto the existing structure. The site also includes a cafe, a lawn, a nearly two-acre park along the Collins Canal, and a Veterans Memorial. Inside the convention center, Fentress is renovating the 500,000-square-foot exhibit hall and the 200,000 square feet of meeting space, and creating a new 80,000-square-foot ballroom.

The Miami Herald reported that a design-build firm will be selected by the city in November, and that if everything moves forward, groundbreaking could happen after Art Basel next year with the center opening in 2017.

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