Fentress Architects, a global design firm specializing in the creation of memorable public architecture, is excited to announce that the redesigned Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) recently achieved LEED Silver certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), marking a significant achievement in realizing the City of Miami Beach’s sustainability standards. Completed earlier this year, the 1.435 million-square-foot redesign included an expansion and renovation of the existing 1950s-era center to accommodate upgraded show needs while creating a sleek, modern and regionally inspired design befitting MBCC’s reputation as a world-class entertainment destination. The venue has become internationally known for hosting annual events such as Art Basel Miami Beach and eMERGE Americas.
“The Miami Beach Convention Center’s LEED Silver certification exemplifies the significant coordination, innovation and green building leadership that was demonstrated among the entire project team,” said Deborah Lucking, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Director of Sustainability at Fentress Architects. “This project stands as a testament of resilient, sustainable and forward-thinking design that will serve as a commitment to the community now and well into the future.”
Located in the heart of Miami Beach, Florida, MBCC’s design realizes the City of Miami Beach’s vision to reposition the center as one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the U.S. while enhancing the facility to comply with FEMA code as part of a resiliency plan to safeguard against future hurricanes and flooding. To create a design that reflects the city’s vibrant culture and natural environment, the design team immersed themselves in the landscape and lifestyle of Miami’s South Beach.
Fentress collaborated with Arquitectonica on the context-driven design to incorporate natural elements of the ocean, beach and underwater life such as waves, manta rays, and coral reefs. The exterior façade is designed with more than 500 unique aluminum “fins”—angled aluminum linear forms—to create a curving undulation reflective of the nearby ocean waves. This contextual inspiration was brought inside with colors and patterns that emulate receding water, sea foam, and local coral reef patterns. The team also translated satellite images of nearby ocean waves, coral, and sandbars into custom patterns for the carpets throughout pre-function and public circulation areas.
“This exciting milestone for the MBCC represents the culmination of a long journey, demonstrating the MBCC’s serious commitment to resiliency and sustainability,” said Freddie Peterson, General Manager at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The façade’s angled fins create a curtain wall that responds to the solar orientation of each façade, filtering dappled light throughout the daylit lobbies and pre-function spaces to provide a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor environments. Hurricane-resistant connections and projectile resistant glazing on the exterior façade establish a strong and stable building envelope. Additionally, the elevation of critical building systems to the second floor allows the building to remain operational during hurricanes while raised floor elevations respond to rising sea levels.
Creating a Resilient Community Amenity
In collaboration with West8, Fentress Architects transformed the existing six-acre surface parking lot into a vibrant public park—a key element of the project’s resilient design that includes a tropical garden, game lawn, shaded areas, and veterans’ plaza. Additionally, Bent Pool, a public art installation by international artists Elmgreen & Dragset, celebrates Miami Beach’s dynamic culture and natural environment.
In total, the design team added twelve acres of greenspace, preserved more than 100 existing trees, and added over 1,300 new trees. As a result, the design increases the pervious acreage of the 25-acre campus by 245% and significantly reduces heat island effect. The project is designed to a 25-year, 3-day storm event as the maximum stage for site drainage retention.
Fentress Architects is a global design firm that passionately pursues the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture. Together with its clients, Fentress creates inspired design to improve the human environment. Founded by Curtis Fentress in 1980, the firm has designed $43 billion of architectural projects worldwide, visited by more than 650 million people each year. Fentress is a dynamic learning organization, driven to grow its ability to design, innovate and exceed client expectations. The firm has been honored with more than 550 distinctions for design excellence and innovation.