Architect Profile: Kobi Karp

Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design (KKAID) have been in the business of designing living spaces for over two decades. Known for adaptability, the firm’s versatility is evident in their various projects. In terms of height, no other firm has such a drastic disparity between some projects versus others. KKAID is responsible for having designed the 1,200 foot tall Empire World Towers, which will, if finished, be among the tallest condominiums in the world and Miami’s first 1000 footers. Kobi Karp is helping lead the way in designing Uptown’s new leading high rises. The 649ft Chelsea, 473 ft Lima, and 437ft Park Lane tower are good examples. Their influence extends to Brickell Village as well with their 794ft Flatiron and 849ft 1101 Brickell Tower, which is a Leviev Boymelgreen project. Much of their bread and butter work is seen on Miami Beach and North Bay Village. By “bread and butter” I mean those projects which fill in the firm’s portfolio but don’t get much attention from the masses due to lack of height. The Lexi, Mei, Bel Aire are good examples. In analyzing some of the firm’s designs you will realize that there is a sense of dynamism that makes each design seem truly unique. It is hard t find clear parallels in their designs. This distinguishes KKAID from other firms which tend to develop a certain signature style that is incorporated into most of their designs. The implication is that KKAID executes the vision of the client rather than their own. It is hard to imagine such versatility in a vast portfolio such as theirs. They pull it off though. KKAID buildings have character, whether tall or small. In viewing the Bel Aire, for example, which is not altogether tall, the design still makes great use of glass, has interesting jagged façade patterns, and a highly distinguishable crown. All these elements come together to give the Bel Aire an air of importance that compensates for its low stature. The Lima building is my favorite Kobi Karp product. The structure has a multi-tiered terrace façade with parallel sharp vertical glass lines. The Flatiron, with its curvilinear design creates a unique modern adaptation of the New York City urban icon. Too bad it’s not likely to get built. The 1101 Brickell development, and to a lesser extent, the Flatiron resemble the Lipstick building in New York City. In comparing a rendering of both Miami developments to the Lipstick Building you’ll see that the resemblance is uncanny. Whether KKAID was inspired by the NYC icon is not known but, in my opinion, implied. The Aja and Element projects do resemble one another in slight ways but these similarities are to be expected and in no way compare to some Chad Oppenheim projects, which look like copies of one another (Element, Ice, and 10 Museum Park). Personally, although I am very much pleased with the notion of having two 1000 footers in Miami, I am not exactly satisfied with the Empire World Tower’s dark and plain design. I do, however, appreciate the three sky bridges that connect the two monolithic structures—something that is seen in Cesar Pelli’s Petronas Towers—, which again implies that KAID is outward looking when searching for design inspiration. Kobi Karp continues its legacy of adaptability and dynamism and the firm seems to draw inspiration from other national/international urban landmarks thus providing a global perspective that is incorporated into their designs.

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