Architects, no matter how successful, are dependent on clients; even the indomitable Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas can see their best efforts dashed when clients get in trouble. That’s the situation in Florida, where the two starchitects were in the running to design a billion-dollar development on the site of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Now the project has been set back by charges of municipal corruption, and no one can say who, if anyone, will get the coveted commission.
Last year, the city solicited proposals for a mixed-use development of up to 6 million square feet on the convention center site, in a neighborhood that already boasts buildings by Herzog & de Meuron and Frank Gehry, and will soon have a swoopy garage by Hadid. In June, seven teams made proposals to the city’s selection committee. Hadid appeared personally on behalf of the developer Jeffrey Soffer. She stressed her ties to South Beach (including ownership of a condo in the W South Beach), and promised her design would not be "OTT" (which she then translated as "over the top").