The 1,100sqm glass façade, realised by façade constructor seele, for Pérez Art Museum Miami, USA, provides great lighting conditions for art and spacious views into the park around the museum.

Pérez Art Museum, Miami, USA

pérez art museum – a work of art serving art

Pérez Art Museum, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is a new addition to Florida’s Biscayne Bay waterfront. With a total area of about 18,500sqm, the new building has about three times as much space as the old Miami Art Museum. The three-storey structure stands on a broad plinth. Slender columns support the roof with its long cantilevers on all sides, providing natural shade for the building. Underneath the roof there are three levels with different storey heights. Levels 1 and 2 house the exhibition areas, whereas the topmost level is reserved for offices.

  • The totally different floor layouts on the three levels are a result of the numerous projections and returns in the façade. So the opaque areas almost seem to be floating in mid-air. Visitors can enjoy fascinating views through the vast expanse of glass in the façade, which links the exhibition areas with the surrounding park and Biscayne Bay beyond.

    The concept implemented by seele has, on the one hand, satisfied the high aesthetic expectations of the architects, who wanted panes of glass in sizes hitherto unknown locally, unusual materials and challenging design elements. On the other hand, the design also had to take into account the particular meteorological conditions of this location, because Miami is located in a region with high wind loads and a risk of hurricanes. Unsurprisingly, seele’s glass envelope therefore had to comply with many demanding requirements. With its spectacular architecture and highly innovative engineering, Pérez Art Museum Miami forms the ideal backdrop for international collections and exhibitions of 20th and 21st century contemporary art.

    Project images: © Armando/MannyofMiami.com

1,000sqm glazing to façade 11 wooden doors in various sizes on level 1

  • The glass façade and slender columns supporting the roof allow the interior and exterior areas of this museum to merge visually. © seele/Armando/MannyofMiami.com

    The glass façade and slender columns supporting the roof allow the interior and exterior areas of this museum to merge visually. © seele/Armando/MannyofMiami.com

  • Areas of glass on all sides lend the building a certain lightness and give the impression that the opaque areas are floating. © seele/Daniel Azoulay Photography

    Areas of glass on all sides lend the building a certain lightness and give the impression that the opaque areas are floating. © seele/Daniel Azoulay Photography

  • In the evening, the internal illumination shines through the transparent façade to create a setting for the museum’s surroundings. © seele/Armando/MannyofMiami.com

    In the evening, the internal illumination shines through the transparent façade to create a setting for the museum’s surroundings. © seele/Armando/MannyofMiami.com

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seele design resists hurricanes successfully

Hurricanes mean wind speeds of 120km/h to 250km/h. seele’s elaborate testing regime proved that the façade to this building can withstand such violent conditions. The ultimate and serviceability loads were established on seele’s own testing grounds by simulating the impact of flying debris on full-sized panes, for example. The performance of the final designs for the façade elements was then checked once again at a US testing facility. Repeated bombardment by flying objects and the subsequent dynamic wind pressure loading with 9,000 load cycles also formed part of the test agenda.

  • seele’s design passed even this acid test and was approved for construction. The panes of glass for Pérez Art Museum Miami are in the form of insulating glass units with each pane made from laminated glass with a PVB interlayer. Panes with these dimensions – up to about 5.20m high and 2.30m wide – and this level of quality were unknown in the Miami region before this project.

  • Erection of seele performance mock-ups at a US testing facility. Level 1 in foreground, level 2 in background.

    Erection of seele performance mock-ups at a US testing facility. Level 1 in foreground, level 2 in background.

  • seele performance mock-ups at a US testing facility. Assessing the level 2 mock-up following impact tests.

    seele performance mock-ups at a US testing facility. Assessing the level 2 mock-up following impact tests.

  • Performance mock-ups at a US testing facility. Level 2 mock-up after impact and cyclic loading tests. Despite extreme loads and visible damage, the building envelope has remained intact.

    Performance mock-ups at a US testing facility. Level 2 mock-up after impact and cyclic loading tests. Despite extreme loads and visible damage, the building envelope has remained intact.

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Client Miami Art Museum
Main contractor John Moriarty & Associates
Architect Herzog & de Meuron
Engineer Arup USA, Inc.
Date of completion 2013
Scope of seele supply
  • 1,000sqm glazing to façade
  • 11 wooden doors in various sizes on level 1

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