Just in time for this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach (December 6 through 9) and Design Miami (December 5 through 9), the Miami-based firm Rene Gonzalez Architect (RGA) has released the first look at a new public art space for the nonprofit Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation (BCF).

RGA was approached to design the space in 2017, and the BCF is looking to break ground on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard between 26th Street and 26th Terrace in 2020.

The dramatically cantilevering concrete arts space has been designed from the ground up with input from the artists whose work will be featured within, allowing RGA to carve out spaces that will specifically highlight those pieces. Once complete in 2023, the new building will create a permanent home for BCF’s collection. RGA has pulled most of the gallery’s mass off of the street level and onto the second story, where the building terminates with a double-height window.

The three-story, 45-000-square-foot art space will hold 30,000 square feet of exhibition spaces. Rotating galleries for traveling installations and work from the permanent collection will be located on the second and third floors.

A cross-section of the BCF. Most of the building's "heft" has been pulled away from the ground level to create a cantilevering entrance lobby. James Turrell's Aten Reign can be seen towards the back.

A cross-section of the BCF. Most of the building’s “heft” has been pulled away from the ground level to create a cantilevering entrance lobby. James Turrell’s Aten Reign can be seen towards the back. (Azeez Bakare Studios/Courtesy Rene Gonzalez Architects)

Much of the building’s shape was driven in response to the needs of two massive works in particular. Richard Serra’s Passage of Time, a sinuous, 218-foot-long corten steel sculpture will be given a dedicated courtyard area between the building proper and the garden. The viewing area will be closed off by a street-facing glass wall, allowing pedestrians to look inside.

The other work is James Turrell’s towering Aten Reign. The 80-foot-tall light installation, first unveiled at the Guggenheim in 2013, will be located at the end of its own transitional hallway to give visitors time to adjust to the lighting conditions. Aten Reign will be positioned within the building’s tallest section; a skylight will allow natural light to filter in through the top of the cone through five tiers of rings, each embedded with hidden LEDs. The end result is a free-floating “light tunnel” that creates an enclosure using only light.

“I am honored to be working with the founder and board of BCF to design and realize its vision for a new landmark building in Miami,” wrote RGA founder Rene Gonzalez. “We have worked closely with the Foundation, as well as several of the artists in their collection, to design an immersive and contemplative building that will enhance the city’s cultural landscape.”

The building will be free to enter and open to the public when the project is complete, furthering BCF’s goal of highlighting international contemporary art.

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