Renzo Piano reveals Center for Arts & Innovation concept in Boca Raton, Florida

Renzo Piano is known for only accepting two or three new commissions each year. In 2023, two of those commissions were located in Florida: one is to design the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center, while the other is a master plan for the Center for Arts & Innovation in Boca Raton, Florida. Last week, Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) unveiled its concept for the Center for Arts & Innovation, after the firm was announced as the architect in September.

Upon completion, the Center will deliver a locus of STEAM education for students and professionals in collaboration with local and regional educational partners. In typical RPBW fashion, the office produced a stunning wood model to display its concept to the public.

wood model of Center for Arts & Innovation
Wood model by Renzo Piano Building Workshop of Boca Raton’s Arts & Innovation Center (Courtesy RPBW)
aerial view of model for Center for Arts & Innovation
Top view (Courtesy RPBW)

The design features ample glass volumes with soaring spaces, emblematic of other work in RPBW’s portfolio. The project is the result of close collaboration with Andrea Virgin, CEO at the Center for Arts & Innovation. “For The Center to fulfill its goal of inspiring, growing, supporting, and shaping communities, artists, students, creatives and entrepreneurs, our physical space itself must be as innovative as those who will visit and use it, and this initial design by Renzo Piano begins to bring shape to that vision,” Virgin said.

Virgin continued: “We are confident that this state-of-the-art destination will serve as a catalyst for new pioneering approaches that will not just unlock a renaissance for Boca Raton’s next 100 years, but also empower countless people to use creativity and innovation in their daily lives to shape a new future for generations to come.”

interior lobby space
The Edith Martin Stein Public Lobby (Courtesy RPBW)

The new campus will feature a three-story building containing a public lobby, large flexible working spaces, dedicated workshops, maker space, creator residences, and a startup incubator, as well as educational and social spaces.

To the building’s east will be the campus’s “main venue” where a large multi-purpose event space will be sited. That wing will have seamless integration with an outdoor piazza where an amphitheater will be built, allowing for greater scaled events.

The new building’s third floor will feature what is, surprisingly, Boca Raton’s first covered rooftop terrace with food and beverage service, offering sweeping views of the city’s downtown. There, over 100,000 square feet of hybrid photovoltaic panels will be located. Atop the roof will be a 100-person panoramic space called the Belvedere. Parking will be tucked below ground.

The Belvedere in the Center for Arts & Innovation
The Belvedere (Courtesy RPBW)
terrace deck space
View south to Mizner Park (Courtesy RPBW)

“When you’re designing a conceptual plan as an architect, you’re often designing something that you don’t know, yet, exactly what it will be,” Renzo Piano said in a statement about the design for the Center for Arts & Innovation. “It’s about inventing. It’s about starting and working and seeing. We’re at the beginning and so what you see in these early designs—it’s not printed in stone. Rather, it’s the beginning of what we’re inventing and of something really unique.”

“Innovation is like beauty—you don’t just say someone is beautiful for their exterior, they’re also beautiful because of their mind. The same sentiment will apply to The Center. It’s not about being a beautiful building; the beauty is in what will be created and invented inside the building,” Piano continued.

Construction crews will break ground in 2025, Boca Raton’s centennial year.

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