Herzog & de Meuron is "deconstructing stupid architecture" in Miami
Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in our first movie from Miami, Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron claims the Swiss architecture studio is trying to create a "new vernacular for Miami" that eschews sealed, air-conditioned buildings in favour of more "transparent or permeable" structures.
"Very often, if you go to a place, you're asked to do architecture that relates to that place, stylistically, or typologically or whatever," says Herzog, who was speaking at the press preview of the new Pérez Art Museum in downtown Miami, which opened on Wednesday. "What would that be in Miami?"
"The most famous style or vernacular here is the art deco [buildings] on Ocean Drive, but this is relatively stupid architecture; it is just blind boxes, which have a certain decoration, like a cake or pastry, with air conditioning that makes a very strict difference between inside and outside."
He continues: "This is very North American architecture that doesn't relate to or exploit the amazing conditions that you find here: the amazing climate, the lush vegetation, the seaside, the sun. We wanted to do buildings deconstructing this, opening up these structures and making them transparent or permeable."
Herzog gives the example of 1111 Lincoln Road, Herzog & de Meuron's sculptural car park on South Beach, which was completed in 2010 and is open to the elements on all sides.
As well as providing parking spaces for 300 cars, the car park includes shops, bars and restaurants and hosts parties, weddings and other events throughout the year.
"It's just a stupid garage," he says. "But the new thing is that we made the building double height so it opens the possibility to have different floor heights and different rooms."
"Parking cars [in this building] is an experience. We introduced shops and restaurants and little bars and other possibilities for people to hang out and use the entire building, not just to make a blind box for cars."
Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern in London and Parrish Art Museum on Long Island are two other examples of galleries that "give right answers to different places", Herzog says.
"I compare it to cooking," he explains. "We try to use what is available in every season or in a certain region and not to try to have an ambition to do something exquisite in a place where it wouldn't make sense, but to fully exploit whatever is there."
The Pérez Art Museum features large, over-hanging eaves to provide shelter from the sun and rain of Miami's tropical climate, while suspended columns covered in vertical gardens by botanist Patrick Blanc hang from the roof to emphasise the building's relationship to its surroundings.
"I think this museum is an interesting attempt [to exploit the natural climate in Miami]," Herzog says. "Somehow it introduces a type of building that could become a new vernacular for Miami."
We drove around Miami in our MINI Cooper S Paceman. The music in the movie is a track called Jewels by Zequals. You can listen to the full track on Dezeen Music Project.