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Herzog & de Meuron awarded Miami project

(Keystone)

The celebrated Swiss architectural office, Herzog & de Meuron, has been commissioned to design the new art museum in Miami.

The Miami Art Museum (MAM), which will cost $208 million (SFr257 million) to build and is to open in 2010, is part of a master plan to revitalise the Florida city's downtown area.

The new building will occupy 16,000 square metres in Miami's Museum Park. It will be the latest in a series of high-profile commissions granted to the Basel-based firm, led by architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

The 2001 winners of the Pritzker Prize, the world's most prestigious architecture award, have a collection of private houses, museums, industrial buildings and sport stadia to their credit, including Munich's Allianz Arena and London's Tate Modern gallery.

Works in progress include Beijing's national stadium, which is being built for the 2008 Olympic Games.

"We are excited to work on a museum project in Miami, which is such a vibrant mix of cultures," said Jacques Herzog.

"The region's extraordinary role as an eminent international crossroads will inspire the programming and design of the new site, enabling the creation of a facility that is unique among the ever-expanding number of new museums worldwide."

Creative energy

The MAM board president, Mary Frank, praised the choice of the Swiss company from a list of 75 architects.

"The firm has demonstrated a consistently high level of intelligence and creative energy in the execution of a wide range of projects, including a number of museums," Frank said.

"Herzog & de Meuron also has proven managerial skills with an excellent track record for simultaneously handling diverse and complex projects around the world."

The museum board said the new MAM was critical to the transformation of 160,000 square metres of abandoned waterfront property on Biscayne Bay, which will also include lawns, public gardens and a second museum – the Miami Museum of Science and Planetarium.

The new MAM will be sited on the north side of the museum park, overlooking Biscayne Bay. There will be 3,000 square metres of galleries for the display of the permanent collection and special exhibitions, in addition to an educational complex with a library, auditorium, classrooms and workshop space.

An outdoor sculpture garden, which will be free and open to the public, is also planned.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The Miami Art Museum (MAM) is dedicated to engaging the public with art from the 20th century through the present.

Since its founding in 1996, the museum has built a collection of contemporary art.

The collection looks at international art from the perspective of North and South America and reflects the cosmopolitan make-up of Miami.

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