400 Collins Avenue

A rare dose of subtlety: Brandon Haw’s contribution to Miami’s parking garage scene

Architecture East
(Courtesy of Brandon Haw Architecture)
(Courtesy of Brandon Haw Architecture)

Miami‘s fetish for grand parking garages is set to continue as London-born and New York–based Brandon Haw had his design for mixed-use development on 400 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, approved Tuesday by the Miami Planning Board Commission. Sailing through with no alterations required, Haw’s design, the “Torino Garage” commissioned by New York property investor Eric Hadar, joins an eclectic mix of garages in the area.

Earlier this year, The Architect’s Newspaper reported that six design firms joined forces to create a wacky facade for a parking garage in the Miami Design District. More recently, OMA‘s hole-punched Faena Car Park broke ground in the Faena Arts District and took on a more understated approach compared to previous Miami garages, most notably Herzog and de Meuron’s lofty car park on 111 Lincoln Road.

(Courtesy of Brandon Haw Architecture)

The garage will sit on top of a high-end restaurant and below a coterie of condos. (Courtesy Brandon Haw Architecture)

Haw, a former partner of Norman Foster, created a design in a similar vein to OMA’s, placing subtlety over brash and grandiose aestheticism. Rising to seven stories, the garage employs a “double skin” that wraps itself around the whole structure on the parking levels. “Other parking structures often celebrate the car itself,” Haw told AN, stressing that the garage was to be a “broken down” and “low-key” addition to the streetscape. As a result, the building’s double skin facade system restricts views into the garage but allows air to permeate through and hence ventilate the structure. Additionally, partly due to the fact that the neighborhood is a historic district, headlights will be concealed and high levels as will noise at street level–problems the double skin answers.



The skin, however, impeded the view from the building. “Parking a car is a mundane activity,” Haw said, commenting on how white fins allow light to enter the garage. Spaced a varying intervals ranging from two-four inches, the white fins will also reflect the color coded interior levels. A minor, yet effective detail, each parking level has been colored in accordance to the pastel hues used by artists Leonard Horowitz and Barbara Capitman from the late 1970s that have become synonymous with Miami’s South Beach. The referential design feature scored well with preservation board chair Jane Gross at Tuesday’s hearing. “It’s really, really beautiful,” she said.

As pedestrians and motorists pass by, the hues reflected from the fins will also vary in intensity depending on orientation, while LED lighting will provide a soft glow at night. “I wanted to treat the building as a totality,” said Haw, adding that he aimed to create a “coherent four sided structure.”

“I’m so vested in this community that I wanted to do something that wasn’t necessarily economic, but would enhance the neighborhood,” Hadar, Chairman and CEO of Allied Partners, told the Miami Herald. “I look at this as a sculptural pedestal for the fabulous residences on top. It’s a garage, but it’s a piece of art, too, if you will. I could not be happier with the job Brandon did here.”

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