New World Center
The New World Center, part of the New World Symphony America’s Orchestral Academy, opened its doors this week. Located in the heart of Miami Beach, the music education and performance facility is the first purpose-built home for the New World Symphony founded by artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas.
In terms of design, the building’s exterior portrays a quiet, almost tamed Frank Gehry. The rectangle shaped white building expresses Gehry’s well-known bends and folds within its interior – glimpses of which are visible through the main entrance east facade 80-foot high glass curtain wall.
The New World Center joins a wave of new architecture and design in Miami. Playing host to the most important art show in the United States, Art Basel | Miami Beach, and the 2010 National AIA Convention, Miami has been focusing its efforts on developing a new vibrant city center. Just down the street from the New World Center resides 1111 Lincoln Road designed by Herzog & de Meuron, completed last year. Currently, Herzog & de Meuron are also working on the expansion for the Miami Art Museum.
Miami Beach SoundScape, the public event space designed by the Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8, is located to the east of the New World Center and to the west of the new building is Pennsylvania Avenue Garage, a new 550-car parking structure designed by Gehry Partners, LLP.
New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, marks a new era for classical music with the inauguration of the institution’s first purpose-built home, an extraordinary new facility in the center of Miami Beach. Designed by Frank Gehry in close collaboration with the New World Symphony’s founder and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas, New World Center opens up exciting new possibilities in the way music is taught, presented and experienced and dramatically advances New World Symphony’s mission to provide exceptional professional training for the gifted young music school graduates who are its Fellows.
“The opening of this extraordinary building is the beginning of a wonderful adventure and exploration,” said Michael Tilson Thomas. ”Not only are we marking a new era for this organization and giving our musicians an unrivalled facility in which to learn and achieve their potential, but we are also inviting everyone to experience classical music in a new kind of space—one that is designed to engage and to energize, and that will move people from around the world to think about music in new ways.”
At the heart of New World Center is a flexible and technologically sophisticated 756-seat performance hall, featuring large acoustically reflective “sails” that surround the audience with sound and also serve as video projection surfaces.
Directly adjacent to the 100,641-square-foot building is the new Miami Beach SoundScape, a landscaped 2.5- acre public space into which New World Symphony will extend its programming. Together, the building and the public space create a dynamic new city center and a geographical “heart” from which civic, cultural, recreational, tourist and leisurely activity will radiate.
Six days of opening festivities will showcase the new building’s remarkable capabilities. Events include the world premiere of a commissioned work for orchestra by acclaimed composer Thomas Adès; video projections within the performance hall, including a new work by filmmaker Tal Rosner and the world premiere of a series of animations developed in collaboration with the University of Southern California (alma mater of Michael Tilson Thomas and Frank Gehry) and its School of Cinematic Arts; outdoor video projections of a new work by Tal Rosner and digital artist C.E.B. Reas; an outdoor wallcastTM of a live concert; the introduction of new concert formats designed to engage and broaden audiences; an architecture symposium; live outdoor entertainment; and fireworks.
Frank Gehry stated, “I am very proud of this building, which results from a close working relationship with my lifelong friend Michael Tilson Thomas and brings to life his dream for New World Symphony and the entire world of classical music. I hope the spirit of creative engagement that Michael and I have enjoyed will live on in the building’s spaces. They are designed to encourage young musicians, their mentors, and their audiences to try new things, interact in new ways and remain open to new experiences.”
Architects: Gehry Partners
Location: Florida, United States
Design Partner: Frank Gehry
Project Designer: Craig Webb
Managing Partner: Terry Bell
Project Architect: Brad Winkeljohn
Project Team: Curtis Christensen , Dan Sokolosky, Molly Forr, Lisa Cage , Shikha Doogar, Petar Vrcibradic, Leon Cheng, Vartan Chalikian, Armando Solano, Luciana Vidal, Rolando Mendoza
Area: 100641.0 ft2
Project Year: 2011
Type: Cultural Center
Photographs: Rui Dias-Adios, Tomas Loewy