Best Renovation/Preservation Miami 2008 - Little Haiti Caribbean Marketplace
When New York Times reporter Bruce Weber came to Miami in 1999 to do a story about Little Haiti's art community, he described the nascent effort to renovate the Caribbean Marketplace, not only to save the building itself — only nine years old then, it was well on its way into, as Weber said, "decrepitude" — but also to establish a cultural center for the neighborhood. Another nine years have passed and that dream is almost realized. The award-winning design by Haitian-born architect Charles Harrison Pawley once again looks like the building it's modeled after, the famous Iron Market in Port-au-Prince. And the new construction in back, at the time of writing, was very close to finished. Redesigned by the Zyscovich firm, the new site will soon be home to a theater/auditorium, a dance facility, a community meeting room, gallery space, a darkroom, a computer workroom, and a kiln. In conjunction with the soccer fields on NE 62nd Street and Second Avenue, this revitalized site will finally give Miami's Haitian community respectable facilities for sport and cultural events. At 50,000 strong, it's about damn time.