The New World Center indeed creates a new world of music and light, and is right at home in South Beach. The 100,641-sq.-ft facility is the new state-of-the-art home of Miami’s New World Symphony and was constructed as part of the City Center Redevelopment Project in a public/private partnership with Miami Dade County and the City of Miami Beach. New World Symphony conductor and founder, Michael Tilson Thomas, worked closely with renowned architect Frank Gehry to create a space that would provide a nurturing environment for performers, foster a relationship between the performers and the community and spark an interest in classical music from the public at large. The structural engineers, Gilsanz Murray Steficek, collaborated intensely with the designers to enable the architect to fully realize the vision of a new frontier in the public relationship with musical performance. Where the exterior looks to be a straightforward glass and concrete box, the interior holds the dynamic sculptural elements that are the signature of Gehry Partners.
The configuration of the performance space can be “tuned” to accommodate full orchestras or solo performers. The concert hall ceiling uses 46 round HSS “stalactites” (4-in. OD) suspended from the roof framing to support a curviform collection of five “sails” represented as 40-ft by 65-ft acoustical walls and twelve acoustical ceiling faces—the “clouds.” The sails and clouds are supported predominantly with 8-in. OD round HSS.
Inside the atrium is a village of four stand-alone, twisting and turning interior structures or “pods” that serve as classrooms, practice spaces and offices for the symphony. Single curvature, 8-in.-diameter HSS and wide-flange beams form the skeletons of the pods, the highest of which reaches 50 ft. These four structures accounted for 260 tons of the building’s total 3,000 tons of steel.