Early this afternoon, during a preview of his firm’s new building for the Perez Art Museum Miami, Jacques Herzog sat in a window seat in a second floor gallery and discussed what the building lacked. “It doesn’t really have a form,” he said, looking out at Biscayne Bay past rows of thin concrete columns supporting a trellis overhead. “It’s more about its permeability. There is so much form in Miami. We wanted to do something that shows the potential in this city to let in sun and vegetation.”
In a town where form is often everything and ornament is the vernacular—from Deco buildings in South Beach to Arquitectonica’s Atlantis Condominium (the square donut of a building seen in the Miami Vice credits) to the Zaha Hadid-designed residential tower rising yards from the museum—Herzog has a point. The museum reads as a bit contrarian.