Former Miami Museum of Science Returns to its Roots

Nearly thirty five years before the Museum of Science was established across from Villa Vizcaya, business mogul James Deering built a functioning community to serve his residence. Located across from Vizcaya, the village included a large farm and a greenhouse that grew food and plants for the estate. Now city officials are making plans to turn the property back into a sustainable farm. Most of the village’s original buildings have been restored, including the property’s original barns, stables and staff housing.

 X vizcaya renderingViscaya Village site plan. Photo courtesy of Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez

Vizcaya’s garden to table concept aspires to provide visitors a genuine experience of the estate’s past when Deering was in residence, and aims to supply nearby restaurants with fresh, locally grown food. Citizens of Miami-Dade County, the Board of County Commissioners and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Trust have already approved funding to revitalize the Village area for use by Vizcaya, including the space occupied by the former Science Museum. 

Vizcaya Museum and gardens recently hosted three public forums on the revitalization of the historic Village. Guests who attended the first Vizcaya Village forum were welcomed by District Commissioner Xavier Suarez. Executive director of Vizcaya Joel Hoffman then gave a brief history of the estate. Hoffman explained that the estate has seen an increase in visitors and there is limited parking. He hopes the Village can help alleviate congestion for visitors of Villa Vizcaya. It was also mentioned that Vizcaya Museum and Gardens will focus its efforts on conservation and there are no plans to build a new parking garage on the property.

MC Harry, Architectural firm, and Quinn Evans Architects, are currently working with Vizcaya Museum and Gardens to develop a master plan for the property. Architect Lourdes Solera, from MC Harry and Associates, spoke at the forum. She explained that the proposed village could have improved amenities that may include: an orientation center, indoor reception area, seminar space, art exhibition space, greenhouse, agriculture space and a conservation lab. As of now, there is no word on whether or not the historic Vizcaya buildings will be used as they were originally intended.  Or whether the old planetarium building will be utilized in the new design.

 Ursa Gil-

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