Designing the Hyphen: Linking identity and architecture in Bacardi's former Miami headquarters Open Access
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Designing the Hyphen: Linking identity and architecture in Bacardi's former Miami headquartersBuildings do not stand still. They reflect and affect the cultural, political and historical identity of the moment in which they were created - and both reflect and affect the moments that follow.Shifts in culture often produce a sense of dislocation, a questioning of identity. The resulting dichotomies (traditional-modern, local-international, public-private, preservation-innovation, past-present, art-architecture, etc.) offer the designer an opportunity to peer into the spaces in between and reveal both the connections and ruptures. Mutability defines the hyphen, a state that should be exposed, exploited and celebrated.The former Bacardi headquarters in downtown Miami, Florida should be reconceptualized into a kinetic place where Cuban and Cuban-American artists work, art from the past and the present is exhibited, and the public interacts with them. In this way the campus will reflect the changes in Cuban-American identity since the buildings were erected for the Cuban spirits company shortly after the 1959 Cuban Revolution; it will continue and expand upon the cultural exchanges for which Miami is becoming known, and it will reintegrate an isolated office park into its current urban landscape.Approaching a culturally and historically significant structure such as the former Bacardi headquarters as a palimpsest will reveal not only the influence of the past, but also the significance of societal shifts through time and the relevance of the buildings today. Through analyzing precedents, and by engaging scale, exposing and concealing traces and layers, designing circulation, and considering the fluid relationship between art and architecture, this project proposes creating gallery and studio/residential spaces on the Bacardi campus that will revel in the hyphenated state.This study explores the relationship of the former Bacardi headquarters to the pronounced transformations in not only the Cuban exile community in Miami, but also in its immediate surroundings, and in the artistic communities that have sprouted around it. By exploiting the "hyphens," the points where shifts in identity are occurring, where the traces of previous physical incarnations bump into the present, and where art and architecture become entangled, this thesis will attempt to reactivate the Bacardi campus and propose a dynamic force that responds to as well as provokes the Miami of yesterday, today and tomorrow.