Called New World Centre, the building includes a 756-seat performance hall surrounded by 'sails' that reflect sound and act as projection screens.
The 80 foot-high glass curtain wall displays activity within to the surrounding neighbourhood and is designed to invite passers-by to enter the main atrium, where tumbling forms enclose the building's smaller rooms.
The facade features a 7,000 square-foot projection wall onto which live concerts can be projected and enjoyed by visitors in the adjacent 2.5-acre Miami Beach SoundScape landscaped park, designed by Dutch firm West 8.
Photographs are by Claudia Uribe unless otherwise stated. Drawings are courtesy of New World Symphony.
The information below is from the New World Symphony:
GRAND OPENING OF NEW WORLD CENTER IN MIAMI BEACH
New civic and cultural landmark, designed by Frank Gehry in close collaboration with Michael Tilson Thomas, is the first purpose-built home for New World Symphony
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.
Above image is by Todd Eberle. New World Symphony founder Michael Tilson Thomas in New World Center Atrium
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 wallcast of a live concert; the introduction of new concert formats designed to engage and broaden audiences; an architecture symposium; live outdoor entertainment; and fireworks.
Above image is by Tomas Loewy. New World Symphony founder Michael Tilson Thomas in New World Center Atrium
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.”
According to Howard Herring, President and CEO of New World Symphony, “What we have with the opening of New World Center is a set of unprecedented opportunities. Opportunities for the best young orchestral musicians in the world, our Fellows, to learn to surpass themselves. Opportunities for the public, inside and outside this building, to become engaged in the Fellows’ journey, and feel their thrill of discovery. Opportunities to reinvent, and reimagine, the way classical music is taught, performed, programmed and experienced. From the infinitely varied projections on the outside of this building to the dazzling array of configurations and visual experiences you see inside this performance hall to our amazingly flexible and advanced spaces for teaching and rehearsal and media, everything at New World Center is designed to open fresh possibilities, and to keep opening them, not just today but every day.”
Major components of New World Center’s program-focused design are: a soaring, 80-foot-high glass facade providing a spectacular entrance and views of activities inside a skylit atrium where playful, tumbling geometric forms delineate the internal spaces, and where the public may relax at an illuminated glass bar with a blue titanium canopy; the 756-seat performance hall, with acoustic design led by Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics; a giant, 7,000-square-foot exterior projection wall for outdoor video presentations, including wallcastsTM of live concerts; a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of Miami Beach, the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay; a music library; and numerous practice and rehearsal spaces and technology studios wired with 17 miles of fiber-optic cable for high-speed Internet2 transmissions.
Miami Beach SoundScape, commissioned by the City of Miami Beach and designed by the acclaimed Dutch firm West 8, is located to the east of New World Center. To the west of the new building lies Pennsylvania Avenue Garage, a new 550-car parking structure designed by Gehry Partners, LLP. These facilities, combined with the building, comprise the City Center redevelopment project that is injecting fresh vitality into the architecturally historic district of South Beach.
Above image is by Todd Eberle
About New World Center
The New World Center is a unique performance, education, production and creative space with state-of-the-art capabilities, owned and operated by the New World Symphony. A global hub for creative expression and collaboration and a laboratory for the ways music is taught, presented and experienced, the new building will enable the New World Symphony to continue its role as the leader in integrating technology with music education and concert presentation. It will be used by the New World Symphony for educational activities, musical and related cultural performances and events, rehearsals, Internet2 transmissions, recordings, broadcasts and webcasts. The venue will also be available for third-party uses on a rental basis.
Dedicated to classical music’s power to communicate and connect, the New World Center is at once exceptionally transparent and outgoing. The 7,000-square-foot projection wall located on the right side of the façade brings what happens inside the concert hall to the event space outside. The main viewing area, ExoStage@Miami Beach SoundScape, can accommodate up to 1,000 people and is surrounded by an immersive sound system designed to look like two giant, gently curving ballet barres, providing a first-rate listening experience to audiences. In addition to offering wallcastsTM of concerts, the projection wall will show presentations including the site-specific video mural, video art, films and informational shorts.
The main entrance of New World Center is set in a soaring, 80-foot-high glass curtain wall to the left of the projection wall, providing uninterrupted views of the skylit main atrium and the dramatic, tumbling forms delineating the interior spaces beyond. The entrance is distinguished by a white, wave-like canopy and opens out onto the Mary and Howard Frank Plaza and Miami Beach SoundScape. Built with glass with no iron content, the curtain wall is utterly clear and disappears when lit from within— by the atrium’s skylight during the day and by theatrical lighting at night. When lit at night by the space’s architectural lighting system, the tumbling forms within the frame of the curtain wall take on the character of performers on a proscenium stage, turning the building itself into a performance. A 650-square-foot LED light field is positioned at the top of the transparent wall, announcing its programming, and the campus’s box office is located next to the main entrance.
The atrium immediately conveys the feeling that New World Center is a place to be used and enjoyed. The floors are polished concrete, the walls are painted drywall, and the seating consists of baby-blue banquettes with plywood backing. A large, illuminated glass bar with an undulating, blue-tinted titanium canopy is situated at the back of lively, light-flooded space. The atrium also features Taboehan (2003), a monumental sculpture by artist Frank Stella. Donated by Miami collector Martin Z. Margulies, Taboehan is the only work of art permanently on view at New World Center.
Above image is by Tomas Loewy
Among the principal spaces that open onto the atrium is the SunTrust Pavilion: a large, multi-purpose room for full-orchestra rehearsals, small performances, film screenings, lectures, business meetings and recordings, many of which will be free and open to the public. The east wall of the pavilion is glass, allowing passersby to see the activity inside and be encouraged to enter the building. An upper terrace permits people to observe the activities in the Pavilion without disrupting them, while offering an expansive view over Miami Beach SoundScape.
To reach the performance hall through the atrium, concertgoers pass through one of two softly lit, serpentine corridors that gradually narrow as they wind along, before opening again dramatically to reveal the hall. Visitors arrive into the space by the front of the stage, in the center of the 50-foot-high, circular hall where tiers of seats rise on all sides. From the first moment in the hall, the design makes people participants rather than spectators—and once the audience members take their places, they remain involved, since no one in this intimate, 756-seat hall is more than 13 rows from the stage.
The collaboration of Gehry Partners with Nagata Acoustics and Theatre Projects Consultants has resulted in a performance hall that is virtually unlimited in the experiences it can offer. The stage is comprised of ten platforms, each on its own mechanical lift, with fourteen distinctive configurations for all kinds of performance experiences, from a solo recital with cabaret seating to a full-orchestra concert. It is also possible to lower all of the platforms, retract 247 of the seats and turn the central space into a dance floor for the New World Symphony’s series of Pulse concerts. Four built-in platforms set throughout the hall serve as satellite stages, allowing the focus of a concert to shift from the main stage to another part of the room instantaneously, with only a lighting change. Large, curved acoustical “sails” on all sides of the hall double as screens for 14 high definition projectors, allowing New World Symphony to immerse audiences in a visual experience during a concert, or simply show brief program information on a single screen above the stage.
Natural light in the performance hall is afforded via an overhead skylight and a large panoramic window behind the stage, overlooking 17th Street. The hall’s seats are upholstered in mottled patterns of blues and white – specially designed by Frank Gehry and produced by Poltrona Frau – which are inspired by the building’s tropical location and intended to bring imagery of the water and sky of Miami Beach into the performance hall.
As a facility dedicated to music education, New World Center contains twenty-four individual practice rooms and four ensemble rehearsal rooms where individuals or groups can choose to work either within or away from public view. The technological infrastructure and architectural design also establish links between the activities in these areas and the building’s other public functions. The Knight New Media Center on the building’s third floor contains video and audio editing suites, where New World Symphony can capture, produce and then distribute the audio and visual recordings of concerts, master classes, conversations with guest artists and more. Some of this material will come from the performance hall, which has ten built-in high-definition robotic cameras that can record 360 degrees of concerts and events. Other material will come from the practice rooms and ensemble rooms—two of which are located near the Knight New Media Center on the third floor, wrapped within a structure called The Flower, which is visible throughout the atrium and beyond the curtain wall of the façade. A total of 17 miles of high-speed fiber optic cable runs through the building, allowing every space to be connected to a global audience through next-generation Internet2.
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Capping the architectural design are the public and program spaces on the sixth floor: notably the music library (which will be frequented by the Fellows), the Patrons’ Lounge and the rooftop terrace with panoramic views of Miami Beach, the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. The latter space will be used not only by the Fellows and staff of New World Symphony but by patrons and concert ticket-buyers.
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About New World Symphony
The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), is dedicated to the artistic, professional and personal development of outstanding young musicians. Founded in 1987 by Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison, its fellowship program provides top graduates of music programs in the United States the opportunity to enhance their music education with the finest professional training. The New World Symphony’s success may be measured in part by its hundreds of alumni who are active in the music profession worldwide in nearly all of America’s major orchestras, and in symphonies and chamber orchestras in Europe, South America and the Far East.
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As a result of its unique educational environment, the New World Symphony has achieved an international reputation for creating new models of orchestral training and performance. NWS has built a global community of the world’s finest performers, educators and composers who impart their knowledge and insight to the Fellows both in Miami Beach and via Internet2. In addition to presenting a full season of concerts from October to May in Miami Beach and Miami, the New World Symphony has performed in prestigious venues throughout the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, London’s The Barbican, Paris’ Bastille Opera, Cité de la Musique and Opéra Comique, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Rome’s National Academy of Santa Cecilia. The New World Symphony’s eight recordings to date encompass a range of repertoire, from jazz-inspired works to Latin American classics to music by contemporary American composers.
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