miami: pérez art museum miami opening

© pérez art museum miami / photography: iwan baan

since its inception in 2002, the artsy hoopla that is art basel miami puts miami in a turbo spin once a year and it has helped the city to transform into one of the planet's must-go destinations for high-calibre contemporary art and design. the recent opening of the new home of the pérez art museum miami - previously called miami art museum - should be seen in this light, and is a keen attempt to further solidify this failry new reputation. the imposing structure overlooks biscayne bay and has been designed by architecture practice herzog & de meuron. taking cues from the city's subtropical climate, lush vegetation and cultural diversity, the building - and especially its façade - presents an intriguingly hybrid composition of materials, spaces and light. the veranda-like public space acts as an extension of the surrounding park, and offers a gradual transition between exterior and interior.

not surprisingly, it has been built with sustainability in mind and has a leed certification. some of the innovations are the exterior canopy which reduces loads on electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, under-floor air distribution that both improves air quality and cools more efficiently, daylight dimming sensors in the office spaces and the use of natural and florescent light in the galleries. pérez art museum miami measures 120,000 sq.ft. [11,149 sqm.], a whopping three-fold increase from its previous downtown location. while 32,000 sq.ft. [2,973 sqm.] is dedicated to exhibition space, the building additionally accommodates an auditorium, a library, a restaurant, a museum shop and various educational facilities, and a shaded veranda and plazas for outdoor programming. the surrounding park has been given a matching make-over by french botanist patrick blanc, in collab with arquitectona geo.

the museum only began collecting in 1996 with a focus on art from the 20th and 21st centuries and the cultures of the atlantic rim [the americas, western europe and africa]. its collection is attuned to the globalization of the art world and reflects the transmission of ideas across continents, while still concentrating on those issues and themes that are most pertinent to miami audiences. another essential aspect of the collection is the acquisition of works by artists from south florida. together, these collecting goals create a dynamic interplay between local, regional, and global perspectives. the collection of pérez art museum miami now numbers over 1,800 works. this year it acquired nearly 500 significant contemporary artworks from a number of private collectors, ranging from painting and sculpture to video, photography, and installation by such artists as vito acconci, ólafur elíasson, dan flavin, konstantin grcic and pipilotti rist. location: 1103 biscayne boulevard [downtown miami].

© pérez art museum miami / photography: iwan baan