Metal Architecture Home

Museums, Libraries and Cultural Centers

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Cutler Bay, Fla.

When the international design firm Arquitectonica was commissioned to design the 79,042-squarefoot South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMCAC) complex, they were careful to select exterior cladding materials since the structure would be located within the U.S. hurricane corridor. The $51 million complex opened to the public in October 2011. The performance hall building includes a 966-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium with fly tower and orchestra pit, front-of-house support spaces (box office, lobby, restrooms, concessions), backof- house support spaces (dressing rooms, storage and work areas and administrative offices) and a multipurpose rehearsal space. A separate activity building is used for classrooms and small square performances. The two buildings are joined by an outdoor promenade leading to a gently sloping lawn where outdoor concerts and festivals are staged along the Black Creek Canal.

The central architectural motif of the performance hall pays homage to the act and art of performance. "Take your hands as if you were clapping after a performance. Then pull them apart ever so slightly," says Bernardo Fort-Brescia, FAIA, principal of Arquitectonica. "Now look at them. You'll see the central architectural motif-two folded planes wrapping around the sides of a vast, three-story-tall, 96-foot-high glass façade and clasping it in an embrace."

The building reflects the spirit of movement, moving patrons through a visual and physical experience. The flow of people begins with the enormous stairs and walkways at the exterior of the building, and continues through to the brushed aluminum grand staircase that delivers patrons to their seats.

The architect specified Alcoa Architectural Products' Reynobond with KEVLAR and Reynobond Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) to help enclose and protect the performance hall building envelope in its most vulnerable spots. At the main entrance, an ellipse-shaped canopy passes through the curtainwall at a 30-degree angle, changing from Reynobond with KEVLAR on the exterior to traditional Reynobond ACM on the interior, with no visible color difference between the two materials. The concrete walls of the elevator tower were not plumb or level, so to ensure the panels were fabricated correctly, East Coast Metal Group Inc. (ECM), set up a field shop at the job site and coordinated daily with the rest of the project team. Metal was specified not only for aesthetics, but also for being able to meet the wind resistance code requirements while providing maximum visibility.

Using Wet-Seal and Dry-Joint Rainscreen Installation Systems, ECM fabricated and installed 7,288 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond with KEVLAR polyethylene (PE) core with a Bright Silver Metallic Colorweld 500 paint finish for the exterior canopies, façade and soffits; 2,000 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond ACM fire-resistant (FR) core with a Bright Silver Metallic Colorweld 500 paint finish for the interior canopy and soffit; and 8,331 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond PE core in Natural Brushed Aluminum finish for the interior of the elevator shaft tower. Obrascón Huarte Lain (OHL), S.A., Arellano Construction Co. served as the general contractor. ECM is currently fabricating kiosk eyelids, canopy poles, information signs and a marquee LED display using Reynobond ACM finished in Natural Brushed Aluminum and Bright Silver Metallic.

Alcoa Architectural Products, www.reynobond.com