A new art museum in Miami looks like Robinson Crusoe might have had a hand in its design, reports Julie V. Iovine in The Wall Street Journal (12/11/13). The Perez Art Museum Miami, or Pamm as it is now known, actually was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, a Swiss architectural firm. It was built "using only materials close at hand – including fern-and-flower-covered logs." It sits "on stilts just high enough above the flood plain to catch the breezes off Biscayne Bay and keep the parking underneath and out of sight."
These "logs" actually are "watering pipes wrapped in felt and covered in local and South American flora by French landscape consultant Patrick Blanc … greenery also helps to modulate an outdoor space that might otherwise have felt too monumental … The architects’ conceit" is "to draw on a local context that doesn’t quite exist … Pamm pretends that Miami is still an outdoor paradise with the museum nestled in its midst rather than perched at the edge of a waterfront largely cut off from the city." The result "doesn’t promote a look so much as a sense of place."
Pamm’s "message that the museum experience can be informal and inviting is underscored by Adirondack chairs scattered across the veranda and by the way that the architecture fluidly connects landscape to space, outdoors to indoors, people to art." This is achieved inside in various ways, notably via an open auditorium that’s smack in the middle of things, doubling "as a hangout space" and grand staircase. The intent is to appeal to a "younger audience" – apparently as is the sign at the entrance that reads: "Open for Sunbathing. Open for Dinner. Open for Romance."