We understand that buildings need to be living in order to add life to streets and neighborhoods in which they exist.
We know that pedestrian activity generates critical mass and optimizes the chance of success for businesses in the district. Improving the street life is an ideal that our design proposal strives to enhance.
If the Wynwood Walls have become the town center of the Arts District then 2215 NW 2nd Avenue deserves to be a seminal building that marks the District edge by becoming a beacon of the neighborhood. Our vision is to create a gateway building that further intensifies the excitement and activities that are fostered in Wynwood and extend the notion of “place making” and urban renewal beyond its boundaries. The design of the facades, public realm spaces and building interiors seek to capture this essence.
This design concept investigates the components of Wynwood that make a successful art community and popular day and night destination for citizens and visitors of Miami alike. Part of the success, we believe, is the idea of art “externalization” whereby the traditional gallery is turned inside out and the main artifact or object left exposed is the graffiti “wall”.
We asked ourselves; how do you make a gallery out of a wall, or a wall a gallery?
These questions guided our process. Our proposal is both a departure from and a link to the wall art that defines the architectural fabric in Wynwood. We like to think of it as an “off the wall” approach whereby the architectural intervention is an art installation that intertwines itself and is integral to the architecture. This is a further refinement of the over riding concept of the “wall” as canvas. Graffiti is an art movement that has found favor and promotion within this community. Locally, graffiti has found its vein as an acrylic replacement to the lack of urban architectural definition. Its canvas bleeds onto the urban leftovers and in-between forgotten spaces. In Wynwood the blank facades and stoic architectural palette are a perfect haven for rich painted tapestries to unfold that when stitched together collectively form a very vibrant community locally and beyond its walls.
This proposal is a subtle gesture or shift that presupposes that future development projects in the district might venture “off the wall” and permit the architectural façade to regain its focus as the main vehicle of artistic expression. We have taken note from currently proposed developments that have not addressed an existing artistic ecosystem and failed to incorporate these fragile systems into their designs. In Wynwood the “wall” has become a symbol of change and optimism and our intervention aims to play on that notion.
The design in the following pages aims to bridge the gap between the “building” and the “art wall,” that typically feels disjointed and independent of the architecture. Together, the building envelope must function to respond to a series of new juxtapositions and activities, both internal and external. Externally, the new skin of the building acts as a brise soliel or sun breaker that is comprised of carefully placed circular reflectors that continually shift the form, scale and solidity of the building throughout the day and night while simultaneously managing direct solar gain. At night the reflectors utilize “lost” light from passing cars, street lighting and adjacent buildings to illuminate its skin without the need for extensive architectural lighting and inherent expense.
Inspiration for the design was taken from pointillism and its modern day counter part; the pixel. When observed as a complete building surface each reflector disc or pixel is coded in the minds eye and collectively form an image. It is intended that the pixel image be conceived by selected artists and then renewed on a regular basis much like a traditional gallery space. Therefore, rather than a finished artifact, our wall encourages an evolution of art assemblages that is defined by the location of each individual pixel and the surrounding conditions. This intervention uniquely serves the architecture. The artist is compelled to consider the building form and function in order for the image to live and breathe. Light, shadow, image resolution (pixel spacing) and texture are all dictated by the considered placement of each pixel. Internally, occupant thermal comfort, daylight intensity, environmental and energy consumption are finely calibrated by the interaction between artist and building.
This novel engagement between artist and architecture has been and still is a fascinating dichotomy where the transaction between the two entities has been uniquely one sided. Our “wall” intervention creates a special relationship between artist and architecture and captures it within a facade. No longer “tag”-ible in its traditional sense, the wall and in turn its familiar framework; the façade has been brought back to the foreground and re-imagined as bytes of contemplative and reflective information. Welcome to the Pix_L Building where the whole (image) is greater than the sum of its parts (pixels).