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Miami’s Magician Crystal ball

Excerpts from:

A Review of the Miami Center for Architecture and Design’s Inaugural Exhibition; Drawn from Miami

Miami’s Magician Crystal ball

1- While Miami in its unending ecstasy has arrogantly proclaimed itself as a world renowned metropolis, such exhibitions which are able to destabilize and challenge this allegedly ostentatious status are most welcome and urgently needed.

The exhibition bears all the theatrics of a crystal ball. With its glamor and enchantments, the show simultaneously represents and narrativizes a wide array of projects, ranging from urban design to simple houses, gathered under a single enclosure. With its elegantly framed and glass-covered glittering images the exhibition captivates the beholder with the same wonder and spectacle of a crystal ball. It can be argued that the exhibition is the image of and the city at the same time - the reflection and the mirror. And since architecture is the drawing, which is supposed to represent the concepts first and the built object second, the exhibition is more Miami than the Miami itself.

In its approach in presenting the drawings, the show has an intriguing attitude. Whether the presented designs have been realized, i.e. became the physical embodiment of those drawings, or they have remained in their conceptual nascent stage, i.e. the presented image which have the desire of becoming a real object, the exhibition, nevertheless, does not differentiate these two modalities from each other.

Miami Center for Architecture and Design, view with doors open onto the street. Credit: S+A Photo by Robin Hill

2- Situated in the heart of the city, the Center draws you through different moments not only in the history of Miami but surprisingly to places you could never have imagined and to the times far older than the memory. The building itself is an object of architectural curiosity. The new AIA MCAD formerly was an abandoned old post office which recently has transformed into a multi-purpose space dedicated to architecture, design, and the cultural history of Miami. The existing entrance plinth creates an inviting space prefaced by grandiose stairs, stretched across almost the entire facade of the building. The stairs have been