ARCHITECT’S STATEMENT – SHOHEI SHIGEMATSU, LEAD DESIGNER
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 provide 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.
A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT: OMA + FAENA
The creative partnership between OMA New York and Faena Group began with identity research and evolved into urban design, programming, building-making, and scenography.
These diverse investigations had a profound impact on the architecture, and Faena Forum’s ability to accommodate the programmatic demands of functioning as a new typology for interaction.
Identity Research: Dynamic Symmetry
OMA proposed that Faena—an expanding array of cultural and commercial—be mirrored by a new cultural entity that was eventually established as Faena Art.
This new identity would consolidate its cultural activities into a related yet distinct voice that clarifies the company’s larger mission. Together with Faena, Faena Art forms a duet: two different yet harmonious voices that resonate to create a new vision for the city. Like the union of the left brain and right brain, Faena and Faena Art fuse logic and intuition, rationality and imagination as two intertwined modes of thinking.
OMA continued to explore this dynamic symmetry between cultural and commercial in the Faena District, where it informed the Faena Forum’s relationship with the Faena Hotel across Collins Avenue.
Urban Design & Programming: Creating a Neighborhood
Although the Faena District enjoys a unique location spanning two waterfronts, the cultural components designed by OMA were positioned on the quieter, residential zone along Indian Creek rather than the activated Atlantic beachfront.
How to generate an urban link between these cultural elements and their commercial counterparts across Collins Avenue? OMA’s urban response proposed a series of strategies including public plazas, district-wide paving patterns and connecting bridges.
Scenography: Once With Me, Once Without Me
Shohei Shigematsu collaborated with choreographer Pam Tanowitz to design the scenography for the Forum’s inaugural performance.
The stage layout and lighting simulated shadow patterns of the building’s distinct facades, utilizing the assembly hall’s acoustic divider as a performative element of reveal..