Artists across the world are contributing ideas and works of art to help make our built environment more sustainable. In south Florida, improvements to reduce electrical use in building and smart uses of rain water are particularly important. Most art projects are equal parts reality and poetry to remind the public about the need to change and a symbol to tenants or buyers about the environmental concerns of the owner.
As lack of basic exercise has contributed to a decline in American health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trust and others have funded research and programs to increase healthy living in the cities. Active Living by Design and Health Impact Project are programs looking at urban design, building design and urban policies that encourage exercise. Many of Knight Foundation “Cities Challenge” and “Art Challenge” grants results in more activity use of the city.
These ideas match with the desires of new residents and employee to activate downtowns. Instead of only the gym, the new generation enjoys using the public spaces of the city for walking, biking, jogging, dancing and games. Below are public art projects that developers might consider to expand physical (and social) activity around the site and building.
Urban Swings: Boston and Montreal
Encourage Walking on Stairs
Watch/Listen to the Video of Piano Stairs in Sweden
Since the beginning of architecture, front door or entrance has been a primary location for symbolic, religious or decorative elements. When mansions, hotels and office buildings were invented, the entrance sequence from plaza, staircase, doorway and lobby became the first experience and taste of the building. This sequence is always complete with art, gardens, lighting and decor of all types. With the invention of plate glass, the outdoor plaza to indoor lobby merged together especially at night.
The Art in Public Art ordinance requires that most new buildings hire public artists to incorporate artworks into the building or site design. So we will look at the successful artworks in the architecture and landscape. In addition to the plazas and landscapes, key typical places include the tops or roofs, the entries and lobbies, the parking garage walls, the second floors and blank walls. The goals is find artistic work that enhance the value of the development for the owner and contribute to the energy and artistic reputation of the city.
The Building Tops
Residents and visitors to every city enjoy “looking up” when there is something there. Rather just a flat roof or a simple pyramid, a sculptural form or digital lighting patterns can distinguish the building and the larger cityscape vista. The artworks can be smoothly integrated or a surprising addition.
In the design of high density office or residential towers, frequently a parking garage fills the 2nd to 5th floors. The garage lives above the retail storefronts and and below the offices or apartments. Over the last 20 years, public art have been called into service to enliven the walls with huge artworks designed to let the fresh air enter the garage.
Other garages for developments are freestanding. The first image by artist Ned Kahn moves in the wind, sending patterns across the surface.
Instead of the walls to let the air flow, the structural walls or stairs become places for artistic action.
One of the major efforts of the Art in Public Places Master Plan is to develop guidelines for the integration of public art with the condos and office buildings. Any new development that spends more that $500,000 on direct construction costs must spend 1% of the construction costs on public art. If the owner does not wish public art, then the owner can contribute the 1% to the Art in Public Places fund. From this fund, the City’s Art in Public Places Committee will select art projects throughout the city.
Here are some the very large projects that may include public art in the next few years. At this time, the owners have not told the City if they are planning public art or paying the in lieu of fee to the Art in Public Places fund.
NOTE: THE IMAGES ARE JUST PROPOSALS. NONE OF THESE HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE CITY.
Even the Norton Museum of Art will be required to provide outdoor public art that can be seen from the street.
In the Norton image notice that sun will reflect the water pattern from the pool onto the roof and walls. To learn more, read the interview with architect Sir Norman Foster that he gave in Miami in December 2014.
Many cities in Florida require public art on new private developments as per the City of West Palm Beach. Below are a few examples of both required public art and voluntary installations. Here is real estate article in the NY Times on art and development in Miami.