Art can be found throughout the City Beautiful, in a variety of ways that touches the mind of the creative, to the wandering eyes of a passer-by. Art is expressed in the subtlety of our fashion, the words we use to express ourselves, the way we tell stories and how we choose to immortalize our thoughts through physical manifestation. Downtown Orlando is an art haven, and now, the Orlando Museum of Art has decided where its new home will be. A downtown high-rise has been identified as the second location for the museum. The location always had art in mind, (even before thoughts of the museum came into the picture), and in epic designer fashion, it will be a true feast for the eyes. Let us get you up to speed on what exactly is about to happen.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects – the award-winning architecture firm behind the 1980s expansion and tower addition to the Museum of Modern Art in New York – is a part of the team in this endeavor. Following an announcement by museum director Aaron De Groft, of plans to expand that would see a refurbishment of the building’s current residence in Loch Haven Park, DLR Group principal Stephen Cavanaugh, shared his enthusiasm with the Orlando Sentinel by saying, “Sometimes you get lucky. You get a good client who has an appreciation for art.”
The client referenced by Cavanaugh was Albert Socol. He and Marlene Weiss, his wife and business partner, lead Summa Development Group, which is constructing this new high-rise in a block bordered by Church and Pine Streets and Lake Avenue. It is the excitement that Socol and Weiss have for art that reeled him into being a part of this project. As a lover of the creative himself, Cavanaugh could not contain his anticipation, noting that he plans to make the building itself as artful as possible.
Cavanaugh delved a bit deeper into where his inspiration came from, and let it be known those roots sprouted from the glistening glass of the Friedrichstrasse Berlin Tower, architect Mies van der Rohe’s visionary skyscraper that was a little too visionary for 1921: It was never built. Glass will be a HUGE design element of this high-rise, also featuring curved walls with bulbed ends. Can we say, fancy?
Practicality was also at the forefront of the building’s design. Many of the design elements, such as the curves, aid in providing a scenic view of Lake Eola from the top floors, allowing for socialization and privacy. The decorative shadings on the balconies offer sun protection and keep the building cooler, lowering air-conditioning use. Cavanaugh is LEED accredited, a designation reflecting his proficiency in sustainable and environmentally friendly building practices. Can this get any better?! Oh, but it does.
The tower, although still unnamed, will house 300 condominium residences; 232 five-star hotel rooms; 71,850 sq. ft. of convention and meeting facilities; a rooftop amenity deck including a spa, fitness center, pool, and dog park; eight (8) levels of parking for 740 vehicles; and lounges, bars, and restaurants. Are you ready for this building to be complete yet? Because we certainly are and cannot wait to see the result!
Cavanaugh remembered when he got a call from Socol about adding a museum to that list. “He said, ‘Can we figure out how to carve into the podium of the building to make space for the Museum of Art?’ ”. Cavanaugh recalled. His reaction? “I said, ‘What?’” By increasing the elevation of the podium, or ground level, it became possible to add an extra story to the building for the museum to use. “You’ll be able to walk right into the public lobby and take a grand staircase up to the museum,” Cavanaugh said.
Pelli Clarke Pelli has come on board because of its expertise in designing gallery spaces. In addition to the Museum of Modern Art, the firm has created such distinctive buildings as the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan; the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin; the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford; and the Chubu Cultural Center and Museum in Kurayoshi, Japan.
Construction is expected to begin at the end of this year, with the building completed in 2024.
We cannot wait to see the finished product and how this all will affect our economy. What are you most looking forward to upon the completion of this project? How do you think it will impact downtown Orlando? And are you as ecstatic as we are about this amazing initiative?