A Weiss/Manfredi Plan to Revamp a Southwest Florida Arts Center Hit by Irma Gets Underway
Architects & Firms
When Hurricane Irma slammed into Naples, Florida, in September 2017, the city’s performing and visual arts center, Artis—Naples, had just finalized an ambitious scheme to revamp its 8.5-acre campus. Now, 15 months after the destructive storm, the organization is moving forward with those plans, but not in the order originally envisioned.
The first project of the multi-phase, $150-million master plan now entails expanding the complex’s art museum and reskinning it. “We might not have started with the Baker Museum since it is the youngest of our facilities,” says Kathleen van Bergen, CEO. “But nature intervened,” adds Michael Manfredi, who, along with Marion Weiss, founded Weiss/Manfredi, the architecture firm that is reimagining Artis—Naples’ home. The building, constructed in 2000, suffered from water intrusion through its stucco facade during Irma and has been closed since.
The current campus, comprising five structures all built within the last thirty years, including two performance venues and a facility for its extensive education program, “is a collection of isolated buildings surrounded by parking,” says Weiss, rather than an ensemble. The architects instead envision a more cohesive assemblage that takes advantage of the institution’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the climate of Southwest Florida. They plan to transform much of the impervious outdoor space into stepped courtyards lushly planted with native vegetation, almost doubling the amount of permeable surface.
As part of the museum expansion, which is slated for completion by November 2019, Weiss/Manfredi has designed a robust stone-and-metal rainscreen facade, a multipurpose event space, a garden, and a sculpture terrace from which visitors will be able to enjoy sunsets over the Gulf. The timetable for implementing the rest of the master plan has not yet been set. “But we hope to keep the momentum going without having to pause to raise more funds,” says van Burgen. To date, $60 million has been raised.