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Rene Gonzalez Architects unveils design for Art Space of Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation in Miami

United States Architecture News - Dec 06, 2018 - 01:56   14446 views

Rene Gonzalez Architects unveils design for Art Space of Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation in Miami

Miami-based firm Rene Gonzalez Architects (RGA) has unveiled design for a new art space for the Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation (BCF), a non-profit foundation formerly known as Fairholme Unlimited, in Miami. 

The 45,000 square-foot building will serve as the permanent home for the Foundation’s growing art collection, which features thought-provoking, experiential works of art by world-renowned contemporary artists. Along with bringing an impactful architectural structure to the city, BCF will further enrich Miami’s vibrant art scene by providing free public access to the Foundation’s collection.

Rene Gonzalez Architects unveils design for Art Space of Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation in Miami

Appointed in 2017, the RGA to design a dynamic home for the foundation's collection. Since the appointment, the Foundation and architect have worked in close collaboration throughout a methodical design process. Where possible, several of the artists whose work will feature prominently in the new space were directly involved in conversations about the design. 

As a direct result of this artistic dialogue, Gonzalez developed plans for a space that is specifically designed to showcase the Foundation’s collection and strengthen its mission. Pending approval from the city, the Foundation will break ground on the new building in the beginning of 2020, with plans to open in 2023.

"I am honored to be working with the founder and board of BCF to design and realize its vision for a new landmark building in Miami," explained architect Rene Gonzalez. 

"We have worked closely with the Foundation, as well as several of the artists in their collection, to design an immersive and contemplative building that will enhance the city’s cultural landscape."

Rene Gonzalez Architects unveils design for Art Space of Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation in Miami

Located on Biscayne Boulevard in between 26th Street and 26th Terrace, BCF will stand at the center of a cultural corridor stretching along Biscayne Blvd from downtown to midtown Miami. The building itself will address its urban environment—it features a prominent outdoor plaza, which will introduce a vibrant, open space into a heavily trafficked commercial area. 

Its entrance is located beneath a cantilevered second-story, which hovers dramatically over the ground to create a welcoming path into the spacious first-floor lobby. RGA has tapered the volume of the cast concrete building, such that its scale will contrast with the higher density buildings in the surrounding neighborhood.

"I am profoundly humbled by the immense support and enthusiasm from the Miami community that surrounds this project. Rene’s outstanding designs are not only innovative but thoughtful with regards to both Edgewater’s landscape and Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation’s collection," said Chloe Berkowitz, President and founder of the Foundation. 

"BCF’s Board of Directors continues to be an extraordinary source of guidance and wisdom, and I am incredibly proud of the progress we continue to make."

Rene Gonzalez Architects unveils design for Art Space of Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation in Miami

Gonzalez’ design for the new building was dictated by the scale and magnitude of two monumental works—Richard Serra’s Passage of Time and James Turrell’s Aten Reign. Situated in the outdoor space flanked by the building and garden, Serra’s undulating 218-foot-long Cor-Ten steel sculpture will be open to the sky and visible from the street. 

A glass wall facing onto Biscayne Boulevard will provide passing pedestrians and street traffic with unobstructed views of the sculpture, amplifying the building’s civic presence. Once installed in the new space, Passage of Time will be on view for the first time since it debuted in 2014 at the QMA Gallery in Qatar as part of the artist’s first solo show in the Middle East.

In contrast, visitors will access Turrell’s 80-foot-tall light installation through a corridor, which Turrell envisions as a transitional space allowing visitors’ eyes to adjust to the piece. The height of the building was specifically designed to accommodate Aten Reign, which features a skylight filtering natural light into the space while LED lights, hidden within surrounding tiers of ovular rings, slowly cycle through the color spectrum. This immersive, sensory work drew a record number of visitors to the Guggenheim Museum’s iconic Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda when it first debuted in New York in 2013.

Rene Gonzalez Architects unveils design for Art Space of Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation in Miami

In addition to these two anchoring pieces, the Foundation will take full advantage of approximately 30,000 square feet of exhibition space to showcase works by a roster of leading contemporary artists including large-scale immersive works by Larry Bell, Fred Sandback, and Anish Kapoor along with installations by Philippe Parreno and Maurizio Cattelan. Flexible gallery spaces on the second and third floors will accommodate both the permanent collection and rotating exhibitions.

Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation continues to benefit from the counsel and guidance of its Board of Directors, which comprises a diverse group of international art world luminaries: Dennis Scholl, Gabriela Palmieri, and Margaret Marquez.

All images © 3D Rendering by Azeez Bakare Studios, courtesy Rene Gonzalez Architects

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