OPTIMAL DESIGN | The (Art) Vault wins AA award!

renderings courtesy of Oppenheim Architecture+Design

© 2009 Oppenheim Architecture+Design

| project | Art Vault & Valuables Services (The Vault) |
| design by | Oppenheim Architecture | Project Architect: Chad Oppenheim | Project Designer: Gianpaolo Pietri |
| location | Miami, FL, USA |
| typology | Art Storage Facility |
| scope | 140,000 square feet |
| date of estimated completion | 2011 |
| website | www.oppenoffice.com |

It was just announced today that the (Art) Vault has been awarded an American Architecture Award for 2009. This 11-story monolith packs 140,000 square feet of the most-highly secured and luxurious storage space you will find in the market of storage spaces.  Art services company Artemundi &Co. call it the Art Vault and Valuables Service (but industry insiders refer to it as The Vault).  The program includes a conservation laboratory, showrooms, a sculpture garden (located on the roof), a helipad (for emergency evacuation and those looking to make a grand entrance). The coup de gras, however, is a state of the art mechanized parking tower, which will house rare collectible cars.

The exterior facade of the building (a.k.a. the boxes) will serve as an important public art installation welcoming visitors traveling on I95 into the city of Miami.  The panels will be commissioned to both emerging and established artists on a rotating basis so as to project a facade that is always changing, always showcasing the latest talent, and beloved masters. This prototype will be unlike any other storage facility in North America.

With that said, I am particularly proud of this award having served as project designer for The Vault under the direction of Chad Oppenheim while working in his studio in Miami.  For almost a year I was solely responsible for all design work as well as production drawings for the project, with Chad dropping in every now and then to keep me in line and offer his extremely valuable insights, ideas, concepts, sketches, etc.

For me at the time, this project was a useful study in blurring the line between maximum efficiency and optimal beauty.  The most important question we had to answer was how to challenge established parameters for traditional storage facilities, mainly large swaths of solid, and therefore blank, surfaces on the facades.  You could say that the entire design process was centered on how to solve this problem in the most efficient, yet elegant way. After countless hours, days, and even weeks of coming up with quick-fire solutions (last tally was up to over 50 variations), the final result was to break up the massive exterior surface area into smaller modules determined by a grid where the modules are divisible by five. After determining the size of the ‘canvases’, it was matter of pushing (in) and/or pulling (out) the smaller modules so the facade would read more like a series boxes stacked on top of one another, much like would exist inside a storage unit.  So the facade became a metaphor of the activities that were going on in the interior of the building.

Although it is my understanding that the project is on hold for the moment, it would be a special addition to the city of Miami and its emerging skyline. So without further a due, here are some images to fill the appetites of all you design-lovers out there.

OPTIMAL DESIGN | The (Art) Vault wins AA Award | the Optimalists
URL: http://theoptimalblog.com/2009/11/optimal-design-the-art-vault-wins-aa-award/

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