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frank gehry: new world center
jan 27, 2011
frank gehry: new world center


the ‘new world center’ by frank gehry in downtown miami, florida
all images courtesy gehry partners
image © claudia uribe

‘new world center’ designed by internationally recognized architect frank gehry hosted its
inaugural concert yesterday, welcoming for the first time visitors to its 756-seat performance hall
since ground broke on the design in january 2008. located in miami beach’s new city center,
the building will serve as the new world symphony’s campus, dedicated to the artistic development
and education of the next generation of classical musicians. the design is gehry’s first commission
in florida and is one of a three-part city redevelopment project.


glass curtain wall
image © claudia uribe

defining the east facade is an expansive 80-foot high glass curtain wall that offers absolute transparency
into the main atrium space. containing no iron content, the glass seemingly disappears when lit from behind.
the open interface also allows the building and its inhabitants to be visually connected to the 2.5-acre
miami beach soundscape‘ park outside, designed by dutch landscape architects west 8. the main entrance,
also on the east side, features a white and organic canopy that extends out over the ‘mary and howard frank plaza’. 
a 7,000 square foot projection wall provides a surface for outdoor movie screenings and projections.


view into the main atrium
image © claudia uribe

naturally lit by the glass-front and skylight, the open atrium serves as a dynamic entry point into the building.
to present the interior architecture as a performance in and of itself, large geometric forms are seemingly stacked
on top of one another over the six-storey space. dramatically lit by 44 programmable, multi-directional colored lights,
the tumbling figures can be observed from outside, giving the center an identifiable face and presence.


sun shade on north facade
image © tomas loewy


main atrium
image © claudia uribe


stair forms
image © claudia uribe


(left) open sky light
image © todd eberle
(right) staircase
image © claudia uribe


box office and entrance
image © claudia uribe

from the atrium, the performance hall can be entered through two serpentine corridors that subtly narrow
then widen for a striking 360-degree reveal. the flexible organization allows for fourteen different configurations
for a specific performance experience. spanning the top half of the performance space are large,
curvilinear acoustic sails that double as projection surfaces. natural light is permitted through an overhead
skylight and a panoramic window behind the stage.


performance hall
image © claudia uribe


the new world symphony performing the world premiere of ‘polaris: voyage for orchestra’ on the night of the inaugural concert
(music by thomas adès and film by tal rosner)
image © rui dias-adios


outside the center on opening night


in urban context
image © claudia uribe


architect frank gehry with founder and artistic director of the new world symphony, michael tilson thomas

project info:

design partner: frank gehry
project designer: craig webb
managing partner: terry bell
project architect: brad winkeljohn
project manager: kristin ragins
project team: curtis christensen, dan sokolosky, molly forr, lisa cage, shikha doogar,
petar vrcibradic, leon cheng, vartan chalikian, armando solano, luciana vidal, rolando mendoza
acoustician: nagata acoustics america, inc
acoustical team: dr. yasuhisa toyota, motoo komoda, kayo kallas, daniel beckmann, robert mahoney
structural engineering: gilsanz, murray, steficek, LLP
MEP-FP engineering: cosentini & associates
theater consultant: theatre projects consultants
lighting designer: LAM partners, inc.
sound & projection consultants: acoustic dimensions, sonitus, LLC
landscape architect: raymond jungles associates
civil engineer: kimley horn and associates, inc.
construction manager: hines
performance hall seating: poltrona frau

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