Convention Center Renovations Include a Ballroom for Large-scale Installations

Art Basel Miami Beach welcomed 83,000 art enthusiasts to the renovated and expanded Miami Beach Convention Center.
Art Basel Miami Beach welcomed 83,000 art enthusiasts to the renovated and expanded Miami Beach Convention Center.

Art Basel Miami Beach is at the epicenter of the art world. As America’s contemporary art fair, 83,000 art enthusiasts visited the renovated and expanded Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC). This year, 268 galleries, including 29 exhibitors, from 34 countries showcased their work with galleries from North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The 17th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach featured the design of the renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. Designed by Fentress Architects and its collaborators West 8 and Arquitectonica, the MBCC incorporates a 500,000 square foot exhibit hall, four new ballrooms, and 127,000 square feet of additional meeting spaces that provide flexible spaces for multifaceted displays.

MBCC renovations include a 500,000 square foot exhibit hall, four new ballrooms, and 127,000 square feet of additional meeting spaces.
MBCC renovations include a 500,000 square foot exhibit hall, four new ballrooms, and 127,000 square feet of additional meeting spaces.

Replacing the MBCC’s 1989 façade, visitors are welcomed by a gleaming glass volume. The hurricane-resistant exterior building envelope features 500 angled aluminum fins to create a façade reminiscent of the nearby ocean waves.

The Art Basel organizers were excited about the Grand Ballroom with 60,000 square feet of column-less space; giving the convention center a functional setting to present large-scale installations and performances. Filling the space was a commission by the Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas.

The exterior building envelope features 500 angled aluminum fins to create a façade reminiscent of the nearby ocean waves.
The exterior building envelope features 500 angled aluminum fins to create a façade reminiscent of the nearby ocean waves.

The piece, “Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist…,” is a multidisciplinary installation that builds on Cruzvillegas previous work of autoconstrucción (self-construction) and produces sculptures created using locally sourced materials. The result is a sculptural object suspended from the ceiling in an open space that includes periodic performances featuring the choreographer and co-creator Bárabara Foulkes. To celebrate the addition of a new space for displaying large-scale works, organizers invited the public to attend scheduled performances of “Autorreconstrucción.”

Photos: Tom Clark, courtesy of Fentress Architects

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