Art needs special room to develop. The Pérez Art Museum Miami, designed by Pritzker award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, yet again shows to perfection what this can look like. With the PAMM, the celebrity Swiss architects have designed and conceived in their usual masterful way a building which unfolds organically and develops from within. With Cobiax as partner, what started as a vision on the drawing board could once again be brought to life in concrete form. Since with transparency and lightness as the paradigms underpinning this building, the PAMM was conceived around the particular properties of Cobiax void former technology. Across the whole project, Cobiax-SL void formers have been used over an area of almost 10,000 square metres, creating the desired impression of weightlessness and floating. Due to the drastically lower amount of concrete used in constructing the slabs, a saving of some 1,100 m3, the CO2 load was also reduced accordingly.
What exactly makes the PAMM so unique in Miami’s museum landscape and a real architectural gem? Certainly its fine detail and its openness on all sides: to the city, across the park and across the water. Through the effortless transitions from indoor to outdoor space, a process-led comprehension of contemporary art manifests itself at the architectural level as a lively interaction and as man’s engagement with his surrounding reality.
With 200,000 square metres of floorspace for various modern exhibitions, for work and for relaxation as well as for gastronomic pleasures, the PAMM is also perfectly in tune with the climate of Miami and the demands of its multicultural visitors. The three-story building itself is raised up on a platform under a canopy. This allows the building to reach out far beyond its limits and creates a shady veranda with a green oasis. The overhanging canopy playfully creates a series of outdoor areas which elegantly connect museum, park and city. This allows visitors to move from outdoors to indoors and from the street or park to the art. Natural light and lush, tropical vegetation between the slender columns, a primary focus of the PAMM, transform the veranda into an enchanted garden and a place to interact and meet up. Working cleverly with local and international landscape architects and garden designers, the natural surroundings have been blended harmoniously into the overall concept behind the museum.
By using Cobiax technology, the total weight of the slabs needed for the PAMM was successfully reduced by approx. 2,750 tonnes. The gallery area, the true heart of the museum, appears to float between transparent levels, as it were pulsating. The interior of the museum itself consists of a number of different galleries and other public areas connected by a series of spaces. The permanent collection galleries and the extensive temporary exhibitions are housed on the first and second floors of the building. While on the first floor the architecture directs the focus inwards, in order to put the contemplation of art at the heart of the visitor experience, the second level boasts perfectly placed windows. These let in natural light and give visitors an inspiring view of the park and bay. The transparency of the first and third floor galleries means the PAMM puts its public and semi-public roles on display in the form of entrance halls, auditorium, shop and a café on the first floor, and the education centre and staff rooms on the third.
Just like the building itself, the various exhibitions at PAMM display contemporary art as the opposite of esotericism, boundaries and isolation, but instead as a study of reality and change. With its homage to the world-famous contemporary conceptual artist and activist Ai Weiwei at its opening, this aspiration of the PAMM was given consistent and appropriate expression. Because this Chinese artist more than anybody embodies through his multi-faceted work an artistic understanding of freedom of thought transcending walls and boundaries, rigidity and state repression.
Since the PAMM collection is growing constantly, additional walls and rooms can be created within at a later stage. Various options for a bigger expansion of 25,000 square metres on the museum site have already been explored with a view to future expansion. Something the art world can look forward to. Here, too, Cobiax is first choice as construction partner for the realisation.
Image 1: © Heinze Cobiax Deutschland GmbH, Image 2: © Herzog & de Meuron, Image 3: © Cobiax USA, Inc.
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