Perez Art Museum Miami

Owner: Public-Private Partnership
Miami, FL

Design Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Executive Architect: Handel Architects
Engineer: Arup
Contractor: John Moriarty & Associates
Project Director: Paratus Group
Project Completion: Summer 2013
Project Cost: $220 million
Project Size: 200,000 sq ft


The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron features a masterpiece design of steel reinforced concrete art and structure. Contractor John Moriarty & Associates of Florida is charged with building this wondrous facility engineered by Arup (NYC). The 200,000 square feet of exhibit space opened in 2013 at a cost of $200 million and is located on the west side of Miami’s downtown, facing Biscayne Bay. It was designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver certification from the United Stated Green Building Council. The building houses an educational complex with a library, auditorium, classrooms and workshop space, as well as a café and museum store. The Museum is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting international art of the 20th and 21st centuries with an emphasis on the cultures of the Atlantic Rim – the Americas, Europe, and Africa – from which the vast majority of Miami residents hail. PAMM’s innovative design uses cutting-edge technology from around the world. The museum was the first in the U.S. to use Cobiax voided slab technology, a system that incorporates 100% recycled plastic with rebar into concrete slabs, which not only allows for expansive galleries with fewer support columns, but efficiently reduces approximately 35% of the amount of concrete used.


The design for the building’s structural system grew out of its functional parameters. Rising from the basic unit of the parking area grid, the columns are placed at regular intervals across the site. Falling inside and outside the building envelope, these columns support the platform, the upper levels of the museum and the roof. The architectural design called for large galleria spaces with open spans ranging between 50 and 100 feet. In order to achieve these clear spans without sacrificing floor to ceiling height clearances; the design team evaluated over 40 different structural schemes that consisted of different types of floor systems. The most economical structural solution employed a system of floor slabs with up-turned beams that were cast together with walls to create box-like structural systems. A structural box requires only three wall supports to be stable and in turn opened up wall space that was used to offer stunning views of Biscayne Bay. The structural floor system that offered the most economical solution while solving the problem of the added dead load from the recessed slab consisted of a steel reinforced concrete voided flat plate. These recesses increased the overall floor thickness by as much as 6 inches, adding slab dead load. In addition, the architectural design called for recesses on the underside of the slab to house lights and sprinkler systems.