Arquitectonica and Fentress Architects

Arquitectonica and Fentress Look to the Sea for the Design of the Miami Beach Convention Center

2021 Best of Year winner for Building Facade – Domestic Interior

This island city is defined by its relationship to the Atlantic Ocean. So for a revamp of the Miami Beach Convention Center, which occupies a 1958 building, local firm Arquitectonica along with Fentress looked toward the sea and its creatures for inspiration. The two teams studied the movement of ocean waves and the undulation of swimming manta rays to yield a rhythmic intervention: Nearly 500 angled vertical fins in white aluminum plate have radically transformed the facade. “Each fin is unique in shape,” Fentress principal Michael Winters explains. “Grouped into sections of 10, the sets have their own dedicated steel bracing.” Arquitectonica and Fentress also conducted wind studies to ensure the facade could withstand a Category 4 hurricane.

The exterior fins contribute changes to the 1.8 million-square-foot interiors as well, dappling lobbies and other areas with modulated daylight. At the building’s primary entry, fins angle skyward and become thicker to guide visitors inside while supporting a new cantilevered glass canopy. Fentress led the comprehensive renovation there, continuing the wavelike elements. All together, outside and in are now appropriately distinctive for the world-class events held at the convention center, including last month’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

Arquitectonica and Fentress Architects
Arquitectonica and Fentress Architects
arquitectonica: Bernardo Fort-Brescia
Fentress Architects: Michael Winters; Brent Otsuka