Miami Beach is a unique city; It is one of the youngest cities in America—and perhaps right now one of the most vibrant and dynamic. Its streetscape is characterized by a lively, walkable, urban fabric with a friendly human scaled environment under the cool shade of tropical trees and art deco canopies—except at the convention center. It is a dead black hole of asphalt in the heart of one the most beautiful and lively cities in America. BIG‘s mission along with West 8, Fentress, JPA and developers Portman CMC is to bring Miami Beach back to the Convention Center and to imagine an urban space unique to the climate and culture of Miami Beach. They propose Miami Beach Square as the centerpiece of their 52 acre convention center.

They propose to roll out an urban fabric of paths and plazas, parks and gardens that form an archipelago of urban oases throughout the site. At the heart of it they introduce a central square to become the pivotal point of the entire neighborhood. This will become the front door to the convention center and hotel, a front lawn to the revitalized Jackie Gleason Theatre, a town square for the city hall, an outdoor arena for the Latin American Cultural Museum, and the red carpet for the big botanical ball room.

The square creates a series of intuitive connections across the site by means of a diagonal that connects the Soundscape to the Botanical Gardens and Holocaust Memorial. A north-south connection joins the Collins Canal to Lincoln Road and naturally channels the flow of convention visitors to the liveliness of Lincoln Road. A green network of public spaces stitches together all of the adjacent neighborhoods, formerly separated by the convention center, into a complete community. All public programs come together on the square. This will be Miami Beach Square.

Today the Miami Beach City Hall is almost like a leftover wedged between random neighbors surrounded by traffic. The proposal places it rightly in the middle of the town square with amble space for public expression and at the heart of communal life. The Miami Beach City Hall and Botanical Ballroom book-end the Square making it a natural extension of the civic activities of city hall. To the north the botanical ballroom opens up allowing for beautiful views of the botanical gardens and the memorial. The Ballroom has an entrance to the south and to the north allowing for seamless connectivity to the convention center under the shade of the canopies.

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