The National YoungArts Foundation acquired the landmark Bacardi Tower and Museum buildings in Miami, Florida in October 2012 and has since converted the buildings into the YoungArts Campus—the organization’s first national headquarters. The YoungArts Campus, located on the corner of Biscayne Boulevard and 21st Street—at the nexus of the Wynwood Arts District, Arts & Entertainment District and Edgewater—supports expanded programming in Miami and across the country.
Since acquiring the historic Bacardi complex in 2012, YoungArts has been working with Frank Gehry, one of YoungArts’ Artistic Advisors, to transform the Campus into a lively, multidisciplinary cultural center while preserving its beloved structures, which were granted a historic designation by the City of Miami Preservation Board in October 2009.
The first building on the site, commonly known as the Tower, is located on the easternmost side of the plaza facing Biscayne Boulevard. The Tower was commissioned by former Bacardi president José “Pepin” Bosch. Designed by Cuban architect Enrique Gutierrez of Saenz, Cancio, Martin and Gutierrez (SACMAG), the Tower comprises a rectangular seven-story structure (measuring 81 by 32 feet), which appears to float weightlessly over a square glass pedestal at the plaza level.
The building has three structural components: four reinforced concrete columns, a set of two flat trusses and two end walls (north and south). The north and south end walls of the Tower contain panels of ribbed pre-cast concrete with a stylized painted tile mural. A contemporary azulejo mural with sinuous designs of tropical plants is painted on white tiles with various tonalities of blue. Bosch hired Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand to design and paint the azulejo tile murals for the north and south facades. More than 28,000 tiles were fired in Brazil and installed as a giant puzzle, each tile hand-numbered by Brennand.
The Jewel Box
The second building, behind the Tower, is called the Jewel Box and was designed by Ignacio Carrera-Justiz of Coral Gables, Florida. The exterior is covered in thick hammered stained glass “tapestries,” designed by S.E.A.R. under the direction of Gabriel and Jacques Loire of Chartres, France and based on an abstract painting by German artist Johannes Dietz.
The Jewel Box is an outstanding example of modern cantilever construction. The square building is raised 47 feet off the ground by a pedestal. The two-story space cantilevers out 24 feet from its central core on all sides as each floor is hung from 28- foot tensor rods from a reinforced roof.
The Jewel Box will be going under construction next and will be transformed into spaces for artists to work, collaborate and create.
Since opening the campus for programming in November 2013, YoungArts has hosted Marina Abramović, Robert Redford, Justin Peck & Sufjan Stevens, Joshua Bell, Ben Folds, Lil Buck, Richard Raymond, Sarah Arison, and Edwidge Danticat through its Salon Series sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; hosted free, multiscensory Outside the Box events thanks to a grant from ArtPlace America; hosted Olafur Eliasson and his Little Sun installation in partnership with MoMA PS1 and Fondation Beyeler; launched a Residency in Visual Arts supported by The Related Group; held master classes for local music students with jazz icon Wynton Marsalis and opera star Plácido Domingo; produced an interdisciplinary performance on the campus with Robert Redford and Sibylle Szaggars Redford, Living Colour’s Will Calhoun, and YoungArts alumni Dave Eggar and Desmond Richardson; premiered HBO’s Joshua Bell: A YoungArts MasterClass; and hosted a concert series in partnership with III Points Presents featuring FKA twigs, James Blake and SBTRKT.
Several facilities on the YoungArts Campus are available to rent for private events. If you're interested in hosting an event at YoungArts, visit our Campus Rentals page for more information.