OMA has opened its three buildings designed for the Faena District development project in Miami, Florida, this week. Designed by the firm’s New York office, led by partner Shohei Shigematsu, OMA has completed the Faena Forum, Faena Bazaar and Faena Park. OMA’s contribution is part of a larger redevelopment project in Miami’s Mid-Beach neighborhood. Occupying six city blocks, the project, led by Argentinian developer and hotelier Alan Faena, is transforming a gaggle of worn-down hotels and condominiums into a vibrant new cultural district, which will comprise hotels, condos, a retail hub and a cultural center. OMA has designed the commercial and cultural spaces for the Faena District.
“Faena Forum has been designed as a series of large flexible spaces that can accommodate a variety of events from a temporary culinary pop up to an acoustically optimal concert, with everything in between the realms of traditional art galleries to new and innovative cultural programs,” says the firm. The glittering cultural center is comprised of two interlocking volumes, a cylinder and a cube clad in an optic white. The façade appears as if wrapped in layers of overlapping bands, which cut and carve a dynamic pattern of irregular windows. The Faena Forum features a cantilevered reflecting pool at its entrance and a 40-foot-high dome with a central oculus in the assembly hall.
The Faena Bazaar has been conceived as a mixed-use retail and event space. Transferring the stylistic cues of the Forum, a 1940s hotel has been renovated into bright white rectilinear volume topped with a glazed penthouse terrace. Lastly, Faena Park is the parking garage servicing the district and also adopts the Faena Forum’s color palette and porous style. Clad with a façade of circular punched windows, the garage sparkles at night and casts a dappled pattern of light and shadow in the interior. A glass shaft-way cuts through the circular notation and exposes the activities within. Read more from OMA about its contribution to the Faena District:
“As the cultural core of the Faena District, the Forum provides a focal point to the neighborhood and to the mid-Beach zone at large. The ensemble of three buildings — the Faena Forum, Faena Bazaar and Parking — enrich Faena’s hotel and residential components along Collins Avenue, providing a dynamic symmetry between the district’s cultural and commercial programming across Miami Beach’s main thoroughfare.
The existing site presented three distinct conditions for the three distinct programs — a large, wedge-shaped site for the Forum, a protected historic art deco hotel for the Bazaar and an empty lot allocated for parking. Although the Faena District enjoys a unique location spanning two waterfronts, the cultural components were positioned on the quieter, residential zone along Indian Creek rather than the activated Atlantic beachfront.
The Forum claims the heart of the complex by addressing this urban context with two volumes that generate distinct frontages toward Indian Creek Drive and Collins Avenue. Embedded within the residential zone west of Collins, the Forum’s cube and cylinder achieve the same intimate scale as the Bazaar and Park. The Forum’s circular plan enables the public domain to expand, activating pedestrian movement within the district. A 45-foot cantilever allows the landscaped plaza to slip under the Forum along Collins, providing a dramatic sense of arrival.
The combination of the Forum’s classical dome space with a black box theater in the main assembly space provides the ultimate flexibility for the diverse programming of Faena’s multifaceted ambitions. Combined, the full layout has the capacity for large-scale events. Independently, the spaces can be divided to host distinct events, with dedicated acoustics and arrival.
The Forum represents endless possibilities to host a range of events — from concerts to conventions; roundtable discussion to banquets; intimate exhibitions to art fairs — all within a single evening. Liberated from obligations to operate as a strictly institutional or a strictly commercial entity, the Forum presents a new typology for interaction, leveraging the ambiguous advantage of Faena’s redefinition of culture.”