When I read the headline “Miami Beach Advisory Board backs Portman-CMC plan to overhaul convention center” I thought the competition was over. The competition is taking place in the middle of Miami Beach, a town about to spend a lot of time and a lot of money to redevelop its convention center. But before breaking ground (or breaking apart the sea of asphalt that surrounds the current convention center) Miami Beach has to pick a plan, and they only have two to choose from. These plans are from OMA and BIG.
I’ve inadvertently been talking about projects this week that have distinct relationships with water; one has been exceedingly photogenic and the other… well… it’s working on it. I happen to like it, but wastewater treatment facilities aren’t for everybody. I’d like to write about how water can shape buildings and also feature a project that isn’t typically glamorous: the lowly public restroom.
Even without knowing what the typical water treatment facility looks like I’m fairly confident that this one in New York is an outstanding example. The only other water treatment plant I can think of that is worth mentioning is this one in Connecticut designed by Steven Holl. But this isn’t a comparison of the two projects, it’s just nice when infrastructure projects consider what they look like instead of just what they do.
The timescale of geology is bonkers. For instance, the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland is the result of lava flows that occurred some 60 million years ago. Along the rocky shoreline, tens of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns emerge from the ground and gradually sink into the sea. Now thanks to the folks at Henegan Peng Architects, thousands of stone mullions are rising and sinking into a grassy plain adjacent to this natural wonder. It’s the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre.
I haven’t quite known what to think about Peter Zumthor’s proposed overhaul of the LACMA campus, ever since I saw it described as a “black flower.” It confused me. I know black flowers exist, but the architect’s nickname for the project doesn’t help me understand this enormous, amoeba-shaped slab of concrete that the architect has plopped down onto the sunny Los Angeles terrain. And aren’t flowers, even black ones, usually delicate? This project is something much sturdier and larger, and when it’s done, will probably smell a lot more like the neighboring La Brea tar pits than a flower.