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I hate how they put a parking lot under it. The main focus in the revitalization of Downtown, is to make it a pedestrian-oriented area, where one can walk freely in an urban environment. A huge parking lot underneath this, only promotes the usage of the car, when there's a perfectly good Metro station in front of the building.

Urbanista! characterized Christine Binswanger's response to an audience question as "brusque." If this was the general perception, let me assure you it was not intended that way. Having worked with her, as well as founding partners Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, I have come to understand that the Swiss reputation for minimalism, straightforwardness and efficiency applies to the conversational arts as well!

I also think that the question was an important one, and a miscommunication might have clouded the seriousness of her reply. Christine, like most of the people in the Herzog & de Meuron office, rides her bicycle to work every day. When I go to Basel for meetings, it is not necessary to ever rent a car. When tourists check into a hotel, they receive streetcar passes provided free of charge by the city of Basel. It is a fantastic way to get to know the city and reduces the need for parking garages at hotels and elsewhere in the city center.

The Miami Art Museum is being built at a time when the city is reconsidering its decades long love affair with the car. When pedestrian traffic picks up on Biscayne Boulevard, as it surely will, I think we all hope the city will do what is necessary to make it not only a grand street for strolling along (which it is now becoming) but an easier street to cross.

I also agree with FIU_panther: the more parking lots that you build, the more you will encourage use of cars as a primary means of transportation. Before the passage of Miami 21 last night, the requirement for the minimum number of parking spaces was higher than we were able to provide and higher than the number we felt would be necessary in the future, when the Metromover is again operating in Museum Park. Anticipating the lower requirements, we received permission to reduce the amount of spaces given over to cars. MAM might be the first major building to benefit from Miami 21's emphasis on a more pedestrian, more mass transit oriented building code.

Terry Riley
Director, Miami Art Museum

Kudos to Herzog and de Meuron. They have given us a design that pleases all three, the Classiscists, the Modernists and the Regionalists, and yet it is still a uniquedesign for Miami, not a copy of any other museum elsewhere. It will also please the fourth group which is the everyday citizen that is not and Architecture or Art Aficionado, for the design will welcome them in, once in, the Art education commences and so on and so forth. It is now the city's turnn to step up and complete a pedestrian plan for Biscayne Boulevard. Build it and they will come, to paraphrase the famous movie. As for Mr. Urbanista his learning curve still has a long way to go.

Well, it is a beautiful building; best appreciated by the driving by public or the patron arriving in her BMW, glancing upward and reflecting that the buildings simplistic beauty is a perfect mirror of herself and then gliding gracefully inside.

I hate to be negative, but . . . peak oil is real. Some day soon a lot of the visitors will have arrived not by car, but by public transport and then a long walk. All that concrete in the front, isolation from other buildings and most importantly, few trees guarantee that the public won't come or if they do, they won't hang out outside (unless we have the beautiful weather we've had in the last few days). Maybe that is the intent--keep the homeless and the meandering, exhausted looking, ice cream eating, book bag wearing tourists from marring the museum's plaza entrance.

The BASS museum on South Beach will always draw more visitors because it is easy to get to on foot and more centrally located.

The concept is good: lump a bunch of museums together so tourists or families out for the day can find them easily and go from one to another if they still have the energy. But like the Las Vegas strip hotels, which look deceptively close, tourists, as they are halfway to the next one, will find the museums (or the arena) are not so close and probably not worth the walk. I cannot see a future with the space between museums infilled (with restaurants, vendors, etc.) to give pedestrians something to do or a place to relax without detracting from the isolated beauty of these buildings. Because of that, the buildings will never have many visitors and will always require government subsidies for operations (probably in the form of school field trips). Unfortunately, I don't think the cities then majority poor (including the formerly middle class) will welcome the subsidies, esp. when they financially forced to give up their cars and discover how rotten the city has allowed the walking space to become.

very interesting blog

It reminds me of Edward Durell Stone's work, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, the Kennedy Center in D.C. Fitting precedents in the eyes of this beholder.

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