Track 3: Conservation of modern and post-modern heritage
Miami Marine Stadium is an icon of modern architecture, as well as a long-awaited and anticipated preservation story. Located on the shore of Biscayne Bay just south of downtown Miami, the stadium is recognized for its unique modernist design executed in exposed concrete, including a cantilevered hyperbolic parabaloid roof, sloped columns, and sweeping interior ramps and mezzanines. The stadium was designed by architect Hilario Candela of Pancoast, Ferendino, Grafton, Skeels & Burnham Consulting Architects (PFGSB), with structural engineers Dignum Associates Consulting Engineers (DACE), and constructed in 1963.
Designed to feature world-class powerboat races, and also the site of concerts, boxing matches, and other events, the 6,566-seat stadium is located within an aggressive salt water environment. The lower grandstand portion of the structure, which is underlain by the waters of Biscayne Bay, is particularly vulnerable to corrosion-related distress. In 1992, following Hurricane Andrew, the stadium was closed due to structural concerns and has remained unoccupied since that time. During the next several decades, preservation advocacy efforts by Friends of Miami Marine Stadium and others led to a new appreciation for the stadium. At the same time, the structure became a canvas for street artists. In 2004 the City of Miami secured funding through municipal bonds to save the facility. In 2014, a Getty Conservation Institute “Keeping It Modern” grant was received by the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium to fund a materials conservation study, and in 2015 the City of Miami commissioned an investigation as a first step in design of the rehabilitation.
For the rehabilitation project, the City of Miami engaged a team led by Miami architectural preservation firm Richard J. Heisenbottle Architects (RJHA) and including Hilario Candela, the stadium’s original designer; Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE); and RLA Conservation, Inc. (RLA), (who also conducted the previous conservation study); as well as other consultants. Over the past several years, the project team for the rehabilitation has completed an investigation of the stadium and developed repair recommendations; preparation of construction documents is currently in progress.
This session will focus on the unique original design and concrete construction of the stadium, how it has weathered its decades in service, the threats presented by its environment, the program developed for its rehabilitation and continued use, and the architectural and preservation philosophy and approaches guiding its repair. Anticipated presenters include representatives of RJHA, WJE, and RLA involved in the current project, as well as original designer Hilario Candela. The format of the presentation will include brief presentations and a panel discussion engaging the audience. The session/presentation length and format are flexible and can be adjusted to meet program requirements; a single presentation by one or two presenters can also be provided.