A new creative campus planned for Boca Raton, Florida, dubbed The Center for Arts and Innovation, officially has an architect.
As announced today by The Center’s leadership, Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) has been selected as architect for the forthcoming project, winning out over ten top firms selected as finalists for the commission and a formidable shortlist that also included OMA, Foster + Partners, and Ennead. While the Genoa- and Paris–based studio led by 1998 Pritzker Prize laureate Renzo Piano has designed multiple high-profile museums and cultural institutions across the United States, this will be its first arts-focused project in South Florida.
“To have three Pritzker laureates in our shortlist of design architects is a testament to the global significance of this project,” said Camilo Miguel, Jr, chair of The Center’s Building Committee.
Other RPBW projects in the region include Eighty Seven Park, a luxury condo complex in Miami Beach—its first residential project in the U.S.—neighboring the site of the tragic 2021 collapse of Surfside’s Champlain Towers South. Roughly 200 miles northwest of Boca Raton on Florida’s Gulf Coast, RPBW is also designing the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center. That closely watched commission was announced earlier this year and also included Foster + Partners as a shortlisted contender.
Back in sunny Boca Raton, the second-largest city in Palm Beach County, the future Center—set to include multiple performance venues, dedicated spaces for STEAM education, and an “innovation incubator lab for entrepreneurial empowerment”—will fill what is described as a 60-mile gap of “creative infrastructure” along the northern reaches of Florida’s Gold Coast. The Center is being realized as part of a long-running (talks were first initiated in 2018) desire to erase that deficit by established a major regional arts destination outside of Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
“Culture and art are essential—they shape our society, improve our quality of life, influence our behavior in making us more human, and help us to better connect with one another,” said RPBW partner in charge Antoine Chaaya. “The programming of The Center and its architecture must play in harmony, so that the project becomes a cultural and artistic destination.”
With an anticipated groundbreaking in 2025, The Center will be constructed on the northern end of Mizner Park, an upscale dining, shopping, and entertainment district owned and managed by Brookfield Properties that first opened in the early 1990s in downtown Boca to replace an enclosed shopping mall. (Cooper Carry oversaw the splashy, pink-hued Mediterranean Revival style architecture found throughout the district in direct homage to Addison Mizner, a famed Floridian society architect and founding father-slash-designer of the city.)
The Mizner Park Amphitheater, completed in 2002, is adjacent to and part of the parcel where the arts campus will be built. Photo by YES Market Media, Shutterstock
In October 2022, the city formally granted The Center a 94-year ground lease at $1/year for a vacant 1.8-acre plot of land, valued at more than $30 million, located next to the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The development site, owned by the city’s Community Redevelopment Authority, also encompasses the Mizner Park Amphitheater, a popular 3,250-seat performance venue that opened in 2002 as the Count de Hoernle Amphitheater. Although details about RPBW’s larger design vision have not yet been revealed, the city has said that the existing amphitheater will be reimagined and incorporated into the new Center.
Estimated to generate more than $1.3 billion in economic impact within its first five years, Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer said that the Center will have a “ripple effect into the community and beyond that bodes well for our future.”