Sneak peek: Faena Forum under construction

Faena Forum, the “cultural core” of the Faena District in Mid-Miami Beach, is on a fast track to complete construction by the end of May, project leaders told The Real Deal.

The 42,565 square-foot Faena Forum is taking shape at 3200 Collins Avenue, on the west side of the street, across from the recently completed Faena House condominium tower and the nearly complete Faena Hotel. Faena Forum is also next to the upcoming Faena Bazaar  a retail and office space building  and a parking garage, which are both under construction. All are within what is deemed the Faena District, which will also include two more condominium projects, Faena Versailles Classic and Faena Versailles Contemporary, currently under construction.

“The value here is to elevate the community,” said Faena, who, along with partner Len Blavatnik, have been developing the district for the last three years.

Amid the bustle of Art Basel Miami Beach, Faena; Ximena Caminos, his life partner and director of the Forum; and architect Shohei Shigematsu, a New York-based partner at OMA and lead designer of the Faena Forum, gave a tour of the construction site on Thursday.

The three-story space was designed as a cylinder next to a cube, and can be used as a whole, or divided into up to three spaces for different events, Shigematsu said.

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The cylinder features a second-floor amphitheater lobby of pink marble, and an open space rising 40 feet to a dome with central glazed oculus. It also features a walkway that spirals up the interior wall from street level to the oculus. On the third level is a 6,700-square-foot assembly hall that occupies both the cylinder and the cube. It can be combined or sudivided to accommodate a variety of installations and performances, from dance or musical performances to visual arts exhibits.

“One day it may be a philosopher telling you about the universe, and the next day [it could be] a musician you would not otherwise be able to hear,” said Carlos Basualdo, who will be leading the cultural offerings.

On the west end of the building is a massive retractable window facing Indian Creek, which can be used for freight, such as bringing in cars for an exhibit.

Beginning with performances in the fall of 2016, the Forum is aimed to be the cultural core of the district that stretches on Collins Avenue from 32nd Street to 35th Street, the project leaders said.

“Urban acupuncture, urban alchemy, the mixture of architecture with art, is a powerful tool to change people’s lives,” Caminos said. “It’s an incredible anchor and can push people’s lives forward.”