Once known as the Bacardi Building until it was sold to the YoungArts Foundation in 2012, the YoungArts campus features two prominent and historic buildings. The first is the former Bacardi Tower, a seven story tower that features over 28,000 mosaic tiles on its exterior. The second is referred to as the Jewel Box due to the fact that it has an exterior comprised almost entirely of thick stained glass. The campus now provides gallery and work space for Miami’s young, aspiring artists across nine disciplines.
Backstory and Context
Originally the headquarters of the Bacardi Company, the Bacardi Tower was designed by famed architect, Enrique Gutierrez and constructed in 1963. Brazilian artist, Francisco Brennand was commissioned to paint the beautiful azulejo tiles that grace the north and south facades of the building. The Jewel Box was added in 1975 and was designed by Ignacio Carrera-Justiz. This stunning building appears to float on a glass pedestal and its two floors cantilever out 24 feet on all sides and are suspended from tensor rods within the reinforced roof.
When Bacardi moved to new headquarters in 2009, the two unique building sat vacant until they were purchased by the YoungArts Foundation in 2012. YoungArts then hired Miami designer, Frank Gehry to reimage the interiors of the two buildings to suit the needs of their artists and to transform the parking lot into a green space.
The campus now features galleries on the first two floors of the former Bacardi Tower, administrative offices and a performance lounge and restaurant known as Ted’s at YoungArts on the seventh floor. The Jewel Box has been reconfigured to support work, creation, and collaborative spaces for artists across all nine disciplines. The building seems to glow at night and give the feeling of being inside a rainbow for those within its confines.