First Look at the new Miami Beach Convention Center
Fentress Architects and its collaborators, West 8 and Arquitectonica, released the first photographs of a $620 million transformation of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC). In 2016, the City of Miami Beach selected Fentress Architects to serve as the lead architect for the 1.435 million square foot redesign, incorporating a 500,000 square foot exhibit hall, four new ballrooms ranging from 10,000 to 60,000 square feet, and 127,000 square feet of new meeting spaces. The shared vision between the client and design team was to reposition the MBCC as the most technologically advanced convention center in the U.S. and raise the facility to comply with FEMA code as part of a resiliency plan to safeguard against future hurricanes and flooding. Throughout the nearly three years of construction, MBCC has remained operational with over 40 shows and hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Following the redesign, Miami Beach Convention Center and its surroundings will live up to the world-class destination the hotspot has become known for through annual events such as Art Basel, as well as creating a healthy, resilient amenity for the mostly residential neighborhood. Twelve acres of greenspace and 1,287 trees are being added, with the pervious acreage of the 25-acre campus being increased by 245%. The natural shoreline of the Collins Canal will be restored by planting over 570 new Mangroves and adding a multitude of other trees, including 410 Veitchias and 10 Everglades Palms. Over six acres of parking lot are being transformed into a public park, including a tropical garden, game lawn, shaded areas, veterans’ plaza, and public art. In total, $7 million is being allocated to Art in Public Spaces, representing the largest response to a call to artists in the history of Miami-Dade County and an important aspect of integrating culture into the everyday lives of the community.
Architecturally, Fentress Architects and Arquitectonica collaborated on the context-driven design to incorporate the structures of ‘natural elements of the ocean, beach, and underwater life’ such as waves, manta rays, and coral reefs, to overhaul the exterior and interiors. The exterior building envelope is designed with more than 500 “fins,” angled aluminum linear forms that create a curvilinear undulation inspired by the nearby ocean waves. The fins create a highly efficient curtain wall screen that responds to the solar orientation of each façade maximizing shading from the intense tropical sun of Southern Florida while providing a dynamic movement to the facade. Fentress developed a custom parametric software to automate the design and production of the fins for the unique exterior skin, in turn creating an efficient information and technical exchange with the fabricator. Additionally, the façade features hurricane-resistant connections and projectile resistant glazing.
The colors and patterns of the interior design finishes emulate receding water, sea foam, and varying types of local coral. Within this environment the MBCC visitors and staff alike will experience digital displays incorporating event specific branding, art and dynamic visual elements. All building systems have been raised to the second floor levels. Some of the technological features include state-of-the-art low voltage electronic systems, a Distributed Antenna System for cell phones; expanded Wi-Fi throughout the entire facility; digital read boards for meeting rooms, ballrooms, and exhibit halls; and new digital exterior signage, positioning the Miami Beach Convention Center as a high-tech showcase.
The project is scheduled to open in advance of Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the world’s preeminent art fairs attracting more than 80,000 people, in December 2018. Fentress collaborated with the local architecture firm Arquitectonica on specific aspects of the design execution.
Client City of Miami Beach
Architect Fentress Architects (Lead & Executive Architect), Arquitectonica (Façade Design and Associate Architect)
Landscape Architect West 8
Contractor Clark Construction
Location 1901 Convention Center Drive Miami Beach, FL 33139
Program Exhibit Hall, Meeting Spaces, Ballrooms, Back of House Support Spaces, Public Rooftop Parking & Convention Center Park
Area 1,435,000 square feet
Status Under Construction, Opening December 2018
Sustainability Targeted LEED Silver