Pérez Art Museum Miami | Miami, Florida | ArquitectonicaGEO


Where the PAMM building itself has been designed to express the raw material of concrete in its many forms, native plants have been chosen to display the raw materials of our landscape as complement and contrast to the geometric architecture of the building. Native trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines spring from the ground plane in a vibrant counterpoint to more formal, hanging vertical green elements. In addition to the lush pan-tropical vegetation of South Florida, landscape materiality is deconstructed to exhibit the Earth’s most basic forms, including gravel in paths, the parking garage, and in the urban concrete environment.


The landscape also serves as a sculpture garden and canvas for permanent and rotating art displays, such as the Jed Novatt sculpture entitled Chaos Bizkaia. Portions of the richly detailed sculpture garden provide a notion of discovering works within the landscape, and other areas will provide opportunities for traditional open space installations. A naturalistic planting style dominates throughout the ground level and Level 1 planters, progressing from South Florida natives mimicking endemic habitats outside the building, to a mix of plant types adjacent to the building, and finally a more constructed pan-tropical and exotic palette within the garage and Level 1 planters. The landscape sequence begins on Museum Drive along the new Science Museum and Art Museums, continues in the underground parking garage with a surprising display of plant material in an unexpected location, and continues above ground with the spectacle of the hanging vegetation, and the discoveries within the sculpture garden.


Because of its direct proximity to Biscayne Bay, the Art Museum was required to be elevated above the regulated flood and storm surge requirements, which allowed the parking garage to be placed below the museum. This arrangement facilitated an unprecedented design that integrates parking and planting beds with irrigation system water storage, storm water infiltration, temporary storm surge storage and aquifer recharge. The innovative porous-floored parking garage, along with rain gardens, has been designed to capture rain water and funnel it into the ground water system, thus reducing local flooding and storm water runoff into Biscayne Bay. This last innovation saved significant project funds from being spent on injection wells.


The original project concept of formal hanging gardens was expanded to include the use of water wise, animal-friendly native plant material, in conjunction with systems to capture rain water and A/C condensation for irrigation use, which is designed to reduce the draw on South Florida’s precious freshwater supply. Ten large, original trees were transplanted and cared for on-site during construction, and have been placed in their new locations. These large West Indian Mahogany, Black Olive and flowering Tabebuia trees serve as focal points and anchors for all other plant material. New plant material has been chosen to be able to survive the harsh climate of South Florida, which can alternately provide saltwater, heavy wind, drought and excessive rain.


The horizontal landscape has been designed to tread lightly on the environment by providing a multitude of environmental services, at the same time it limits overuse of precious resources. While many of the technical and sustainable innovations are invisible to the public, it is also designed to provide a beautiful and serene location along the waterfront to explore art, both natural and manmade. In the future, gravel paths and smaller plantings may be moved to accommodate some art while other works will be site specific. A notion of discovering works within the landscape will dominate the sculpture garden.


ArquitectonicaGEO recently won ASLA’s 2015 Honor Award for General Design for their work with Pérez Art Museum Miami

Landscape Architecture | ArquitectonicaGEO 

Exterior architecture | Herzog & de Meuron

Photo Credit |  Robin Hill

About Damian Holmes 3271 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/