The design of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) humanizes the harsh concrete landscape of the Miami warehouse district and creates a jungle oasis in the middle of the city. The art collector and patron, Ella Cisneros, together with the architect, felt strongly that it was time to establish a welcoming place in this burgeoning yet austere area in downtown Miami.
The façade, which is composed of over one million Bisazza glass mosaic tiles, allows the museum to be perceived as a large jungle landscape at the urban scale. At the human scale, the tiles allow one to perceive different organic spatial conditions, colors and patterns depending on the vantage point. It shifts and changes as the viewers adjust their focus. The natural patterns on the façade are folded onto the ground in the plaza infusing the ground plane with similar patterns. The installation of bamboo and weeping ficus gardens challenges notions of perception as well as heightens the sensation of being in a jungle.
At CIFO, the building as a whole addresses its context at an urban scale while museum visitors experience a more intimate urban scale.
Winner of the 2006 Miami AIA Award of Excellence.