Miami Seeks Cheaper Finish to Gehry Project

Officials in Miami are looking to cancel out part of a contract with architect Frank Gehry for a park element to the new campus he's designed for the city's New World Symphony. The city wants to find a cheaper alternative, but critics are opposed.
March 31, 2009, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"This $150 million building at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue -- it is considered a ''campus'' in that it will have a performance hall and rehearsal and study facilities all under one roof -- has an intended debut of early 2011.

It is part of a public-private project that includes a public parking garage and a park, both also designed by Gehry. But earlier this month, the Miami Beach City Commission took a preliminary vote to cancel Gehry's contract for the design of a two-acre park that would connect the campus to Collins Avenue. The move (it was a preliminary vote and will come up for reconsideration in April) was intended to free up additional funds needed to construct the parking garage, where costs have grown to $16.8 million from a planned $15.2 million. The idea is not so much to kill the park as to find a less-expensive (and obviously less-famous since Gehry is, at 80, arguably the world's most-famous) designer for what could be a fine park, just not the one that was conceived as a total composition, like a concerto for two instruments.

If, indeed, there is an either-or choice to be made here, this is the wrong one, short-sighted and ultimately counter productive."

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Published on Sunday, March 29, 2009 in The Miami Herald
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