Swire is stirring it up as its Brickell CitiCentre project is busily and speedily moving forward. Here’s a look from the ground (as of this week):
Let’s put on our hindsight 20/20 goggles and look at three interesting buildings that never came to reality. Chad Oppenheim’s firm is the architect of these designs:
Ice 2, then element, then nothing.
Ten Museum would’ve had a twin in Element. An almost replica of the Parkwest tower, this one was originally called Ice 2–phase II of its name sake which also never got built and looked just like it but smaller. It was re-branded as Element in an attempt to lift it off the ground but failed.
Here was a unique one. It was Ten Museum Park inside of a photovoltaic porthole-like envelope with wind turbines at the crown. This LEED showpiece would’ve graced the skyline north of the I195 in the design district.
Oppenheim went for a more dynamic approach with Lynx. It’s Ten Museum Park but as a multiple tiered cluster. Today, all we’re left with is this rendering and the wretched vast parking lot west of the Miami Tower.
Flash forward to the present and Oppenheim is up to something new (or old?)
Ten Museum Park in South Beach [BoB]
This isolated corner of Brickell is tucked behind Simpson Park, hemmed in by the metro rail line to the east and the I-95 to the west, and is accessible by three roads.
I first noticed it in 2006 when several buildings started to go vertical. Prior to 2006, the area was completely off the development radar. I called it Simpson Park Triangle, for lack of a better name. It’s emergence was one of the boom’s most interesting but little known surprises—representing the most far reaching example of Brickell westward infill to date. Continue reading
One Stop Shop Hood
Whatever you’re looking for, Miami’s manufacturing hub has it or there is a mad scientist (“viejo loco”) in some obscure workshop that will make it for you. Here, little is wasted. Just about everything is put to good use.
Before delving into this quirky neighborhood so many proud folks call home, let’s consider the lay of the land.
“La Cuidad que Progresa” (The City of Progress) is located smack in the middle of Miami-Dade County. Florida’s sixth most populous city, it is a focal point of incoming, mainly Hispanic, immigrants looking for a foothold in a new land.
The Hialeah street grid is different from the rest of the County—divided in East and West spheres by Palm Avenue. As a result, the directional orientation all others in the county take for granted disappears. For example, NW 103rd Street is West 49th Street. Le Jeune Road, aka 42nd Avenue, becomes East 8th Avenue.
Lifelong Miamians tend to lose their bearings in Hialeah. And, if you ask a Hialeah native why their grid is so strange, they’ll tell you it isn’t, explain the street logic in 15 seconds or less, and tell you that theirs is simpler than most others, particularly neighboring Miami Springs with its bird and Indian named streets.
The industrial swaths of Hialeah are represented in Yellow.
That said, Hialeah’s people are enterprising and resourceful and their expansive industrial sector is a direct reflection. Let’s roll through Continue reading
Portugal-based Pestana Hotels and Resorts Group plans its first North American hotel in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District. Portugal’s largest “tourism and leisure” group and Europe’s 25th biggest hotel brand also boasts hotels in Africa and South America.
Pestana South Beach will be located at 1835 James Avenue— one block inland from from Collins Avenue (not far from the planned Lennox Hotel). The Portuguese hotelier does not seem to think its relatively off-the-beaten-track location will deter reservations.
South Beach’s interior has long remained aloof of commercialization but there seems to be a gradual paradigm shift taking form in the nook between the Convention Center and the Bass Museum of Art—where resides some of the island’s finest Spanish Revival and Art Deco architecture.
The selection of South Beach as the launchpad for Pestana’s North American operations is yet another indication of its remarkable gravitational pull on foreign investment.
Anyone who’s tracked Miami’s development long enough knows that fancy renderings need be taken with a grain of salt. Onyx 2, sister of BAP designed Onyx (completed), never disturbed the ground.
Now, the Related Group intends on developing Icon Bay on the same site. To think that people were counting out Mr. Perez, back in 2008. Funny. Continue reading
Miami Modernism (MiMo) is an architectural style that took shape in the mid-twentieth century. It’s the prevailing form of architecture in the behemoth hotels of Mid (Miami) Beach along Collins Avenue from 41st north–Fontainebleau and Eden Roc among them.
On Biscayne Boulevard, north of the Design District where Morningside begins, there’s a stretch of MiMo motels that represent one of the City of Miami’s only adaptive re-use districts. Touted the Biscayne Boulevard Historic District. Here, motels are ripe for conversion into any retail use under the sun. I’ve had my eye on this quirky urban stretch for some time. Let’s take a look:
The Vagabond Motel was one of the area’s first forays into adaptive re-use. It failed. That’s not to say that idea was bad. When it was open, Biscayne Blvd went under construction and it dragged and dragged and dragged Transit Shop into shit. Continue reading
With the Herald reporting rising condo prices and sales, it’s fitting to take a gander at the buildings slated to go vertical in Miami’s most active urban area, Brickell:
MyBrickell (movin’ on up)
Brickell CiteCentre (laying the groundwork)
Brickell House (sales center recently opened; site activity pending)
1100 Millecento has yet to see any considerable activity beyond the temporary park set up and landscaping.
A glimpse of the terrace of Palau de La Musica Catalan, a Montaner masterpiece.
The Architect and the City
No one can better represent a city than a local architect—whether you consider Fillipo Brunelleschi in Florence or Lluis Domenech i Montaner and Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. The expression of their architecture is synonymous with the pride of their cities.
Miami’s architectural scene is robust and diverse. Its relationship with homegrown architectural firms, intimate. They’ve shaped its skyline with little external influence, making it uniquely Miamian.
To put this into perspective and draw comparisons with Miami, I surveyed seven major U.S. cities and ten prominent buildings in each one (for the sake of simplicity, in order of height):
- San Francisco
We’ll get to Miami, at the end. Continue reading