Search results for "Miami Beach"

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Miami Beach approves revised convention center plan by Fentress, Arquitectonica, West 8
The Miami Beach Design Review Board has unanimously approved the scaled-back renovation of the city’s convention center. The $500 million project is being led by Fentress Architects with Arquitectonica covering the structure’s facade, and West 8 overseeing landscape design. As AN wrote last month, despite the center's rippling aluminum exterior, the overall plan doesn't quite pack the punch of the more dramatic (and more expensive) one drawn up by Rem Koolhaas. That plan came out of the epic head-to-head matchup between Koolhaas and his former student, Bjarke Ingels. Koolhaas ultimately won, but the design was scrapped, so here we are. With the new plan set to move forward, we are getting a better sense of the development, especially of West 8's contribution: 12 acres of open space. In a statement, the firm explained that "the Convention Center’s existing 5.8 acre truck staging and parking lot is transformed into a new world-class public park with a plant palette that showcases the unique flora and botany of Miami Beach, and provides flexible lawn areas.” The plan also includes the Park Pavilion which has indoor/outdoor dining areas set underneath tall “concrete umbrellas.” The pavilion connects to a 3.5-acre park and a veteran's memorial that's also incorporated onto the site. Other components of the open space include a butterfly garden, ballroom terrace, and “bike-friendly pathway. The convention center is expected to break ground in December 2015 and open two years later. The park is slated to be ready in 2018. [h/t Curbed Miami]
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Daniel Libeskind and Marina Abramovic Team Up on a Table Design
Architect Daniel Libeskind has collaborated with artist Marina Abramovic on the design of furniture for her upcoming event, "Counting the Rice," which will be staged December 4–7 during Miami Art Basel. The integrated table/bench will be fabricated in concrete by Moroso in a limited edition of 30 pieces. Plywood versions were created for previous performances in Geneva and Milan. While striking in its characteristically angular appearance, we're a little skeptical of the comfort quotient of the seating. Was Libeskind channeling his inner Frank Lloyd Wright, who created famously painful furnishings? Hmmm. But perhaps the nature of the performance provides a clue, here: The event requires participants to sit for at least six hours, counting and sorting grains of rice. Part meditative ritual, part atrophy-inducing experience—at least they will look, if not feel, good. Proceeds from the sale of the tables will be donated to Abramovic's MAI organization, a platform for "immaterial art" and long duration works.
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After a high-profile design competition, Miami Beach Convention Center dials it back
Remember that exciting design competition between Bjarke Ingels and Rem Koolhaas to revamp the Miami Beach Convention Center? Remember those two bold plans, all of those exciting renderings, and the official announcement that Koolhaas had won the commission? And then remember when the Miami Beach mayor said no to the whole thing and Arquitectonica was tapped for a less-expensive renovation? Well, now there's a new milestone in the convention center soap opera. That last part played out this summer and, a few months later, we know what the more fiscally-conservative plan will look like. Frankly, it looks more fiscally conservative. Curbed Miami, which is no fan of the new design, reported that Arquitectonica is doing the exteriors, Denver-based Fentress Architects is covering the interiors, and West 8 is overseeing landscape design. Overall, Curbed calls the new plan "more evolution than revolution." The most striking aspect of the $500 million design is the rippling aluminum facade that is made of fins and louvers and is attached onto the existing structure. The site also includes a cafe, a lawn, a nearly two-acre park along the Collins Canal, and a Veterans Memorial. Inside the convention center, Fentress is renovating the 500,000-square-foot exhibit hall and the 200,000 square feet of meeting space, and creating a new 80,000-square-foot ballroom. The Miami Herald reported that a design-build firm will be selected by the city in November, and that if everything moves forward, groundbreaking could happen after Art Basel next year with the center opening in 2017.
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Biker’s Tan: Citi Bike system opens in Miami next month
By now, you probably know about Citi Bike's woes in New York City: the damaged equipment, the broken seats, and—what else?—oh, right the money problems. But with a bailout reportedly imminent, and expansion likely next year, things are starting to looking up for the bike share system. And that's not all—the blue bikes aren't just expanding around New York, they're headed down to the palm tree-lined streets of Miami as well. No, it's not part of one giant, contiguous Citi Bike system, so you can stop planning that East Coast bike ride right now. Instead, as Miami's NewTimes reported, Miami Beach's bike-share system dubbed "DecoBike" is expanding into the city of Miami next month and will be rebranded as Citi Bike. The new Miami system will have 750 bikes and be run by DecoBike. [h/t Curbed Miami]
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ASLA announces winners of its 2014 Professional Awards and Student Awards
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced this year's winners of its Professional and Student Awards, which honor "top public, commercial, residential, institutional, planning, communications and research projects from across the U.S. and around the world." Each of the winning projects will be featured in the October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and be officially presented by ASLA at its annual meeting and expo in Denver on November 24th. In total, 34 professional awards were selected out of 600 entries. General Design Category   Award of Excellence  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus Seattle Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Honor Awards Slow Down: Liupanshui Minghu Wetland Park Liupanshui, Ghizhou Province, China Turenscape Gebran Tueni Memorial Beirut, Lebanon Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture Segment 5, Hudson River Park  New York City Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. Salem State University Marsh Hall, Salem, Mass. WagnerHodgson Landscape Architecture Urban Outfitters Headquarters Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia D.I.R.T. Studio Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Grand Teton National Park, WY Hershberger Design for D.R. Horne & Company Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park Queens, NY Thomas Balsley Associates and Weiss/Manfredi Low Maintenance Eco-Campus: Vanke Research Center Shenzhen, China Z+T Studio Shoemaker Green University of Pennsylvania Andropogon Associates, Ltd.   Residential Design Category Award of Excellence Woodland Rain Gardens Caddo Parish, La. Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects Honor Awards Hill Country Prospect Centerport, Texas Studio Outside for Sara Story Design Vineyard Retreat Napa Valley, Calif. Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture Le Petit Chalet Southwest Harbor, Maine Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC Sky Garden Miami Beach, Fla. Raymond Jungles Inc. West Texas Ranch Marfa, Texas Ten Eyck Landscape Architects Inc. GM House, Bragança Paulista São Paulo, Brazil Alex Hanazaki Paisagismo City House in a Garden Chicago McKay Landscape Architects   Analysis & Planning Category Award of Excellence Midtown Detroit Techtown District Detroit Sasaki Associates Inc. Honor Awards The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization for Little Rock Little Rock, Ark. The University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architect Devastation to Resilience: The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center Houston Design Workshop Inc., Aspen, and Reed/Hilderbrand Zidell Yards District-Scale Green Infrastructure Scenarios Portland, Ore. GreenWorks, PC Yerba Buena Street Life Plan San Francisco CMG Landscape Architecture Unified Ground: Union Square - National Mall Competition Washington, D.C. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Communications Category Award of Excellence The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley The Cultural Landscape Foundation Honor Awards Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers James Richards, FASLA, published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. Monk's Garden: A Visual Record of Design Thinking and Landscape Making Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. Garden, Park, Community, Farm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Lands Louise A. Mozingo, ASLA, published by MIT Press   The Landmark Award Norman B. Leventhal Park at Post Office Square Boston Halvorson Design Partnership Inc.
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Arquitectonica to replace OMA at Miami Convention Center redevelopment
Some of the most exciting renderings of the past few years came out of the epic face-off between teacher and student for Miami’s convention center. We're of course referring to bids by Rem Koolhaas' OMA and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to radically expand and  transform the facility. While it looked like a pretty evenly-matched fight, Rem ultimately won-out with a dramatic transformation of the site. But it was only a matter of time until project accountants and fiscally conservative politicians made it clear that Rem's billion dollar plans were not going to be realized. As AN covered in January, Miami Beach’s new mayor, Philip Levin said the city should scrap the project entirely and pursue a more modest renovation. Well, half a year later, the team in charge of making that less-exciting plan a reality has been revealed. ExMiami reported that Koolhaas has officially been replaced by Arquitectonica and landscape firm West 8. “Koolhaas, regarded by many as one of the greatest living architects, was given the boot following the election of Philip Levine as mayor,” reported  the site, which continued on to lambast the choice. “Instead, mediocre local firm Arquitectonica, with a long history of churning out subpar buildings with especially poor street level design, is now overseeing exterior architecture.” According to the site, the revised plans call for renovating the current space, and adding a meeting room and ballroom. An existing parking lot will be converted into a 6.5-acre park, while new parking spaces will be placed on top of the existing structure. Designs are expected to be released in December.
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And Another: SOM Unveils Third Trussed Station Design for Florida’s Commuter Rail
With another set of renderings revealed for Florida's upcoming commuter rail service, it's clear that SOM hopes to give the system a highly recognizable visual brand. After the firm unveiled plans for All Aboard Florida's Miami Station, which floats the rails 50-feet above grade on trusses, SOM and Zyscovich Architects revealed its design for the smaller Ft. Lauderdale station, which clearly borrowed heavily from the first. The 27,500-square-foot hub is also defined by reinforced concrete trusses. And today, with images released for the West Palm Beach station, we know those trusses aren't going anywhere. The West Palm Beach station sits on a 2.5-acre site located in the city's downtown and is designed to link commuters to the state's Tri-Rail system and the Amtrak West Palm Beach station. As with Ft. Lauderdale, this station is comprised of glass and concrete boxes that lift above grade atop reinforced V-shaped braces. The stations' similar designs is not on accident. "A common material palette, design aesthetic, and planning strategy unite the three facilities," SOM said in a statement. "Envisioned not only as gateways to their respective cities, but also as iconic destinations in their own right, the three stations are positioned to become centers of gravity for significant urban redevelopment." Passenger service could start as early as 2016.
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The 11 most endangered historic sites in the United States according to theNational Trust
The Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave captured the eye of American audiences last year, but it may have also had an unforeseen effect on historic preservation. It appears that the National Trust for Historic Preservation was watching as well. The Trust has issued its annual list of the 11 most endangered historic places in the United States, which featured the slave trading center where the film's protagonist, Solomon Northrup, was held and captured. For twenty-five years, the National Trust has launched campaigns to save historic structures and places in regions across the U.S.—many of which are vulnerable from years of neglect or the threat of demolition "Only a handful of the 250 places named have been lost," the Trust said in a statement. Thus, the attention brought by the endangered list will likely help the chances of preserving these irreplaceable historic sites tied to the integrity of the nation.

Two Major Icons

Cincinnati, Ohio has two of the largest restoration projects: Union Terminal and Music Hall. Each of these projects are estimated to cost $280 million. Music Hall is a hub of arts—home to Cincinnati's Symphony and Pop Orchestras, Opera, Ballet, and the May Festival. While Union Terminal is one of the most significant Art Deco structures in the country. The full list includes Frank Lloyd Wright's Spring House, a church built in 1837, the threatened view of the Palisades, and other significant places in American history.

Full List of 2014 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Name Location Importance Estimated Restoration Costs
Battle Mountain Sanitarium Hot Springs, SD Battle Mountain Sanitarium has provided medical care to veterans in the region for more than a century. If the VA moves ahead with its plan, it will remove the largest employer in the self-described “Veterans Town.” $120,000
Bay Harbor’s East Island Dade County, FL Bay Harbor’s East Island is one of the largest concentrated collections of mid-century Miami Modern (MiMo) style architecture in the country designed by architects including Morris Lapidus, Henry Hohauser, and Charles McKirahan. N/A
Chattanooga State Office Building Chattanooga, TN The Chattanooga State Office Building was constructed in 1950 in the Art Moderne style to serve as headquarters for the Interstate Life Insurance company with a "Mad Men" era workplace. $8,490,000
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House Tallahassee, FL Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed in 1954, Spring House is the only built private residence designed by Wright in the state of Florida. $170,000
Historic Wintersburg Huntington Beach, CA Wintersburg documents three generations of the Japanese American experience in the United States, from immigration in the late 19th century to the return from incarceration in internment camps following World War II. $5,000,000
Mokuaikaua Church Kailua Village in Kona, HI Completed in 1837 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, Mokuaikaua Church represents the new, western-influenced architecture of early 19th century Hawaii. N/A
Music Hall Cincinatti, OH Music Hall, designed by Samuel Hannaford, was built in 1878 with private money raised from what is believed to be the nation’s first matching-grant fund drive. 280,000,000
Palladium Building St. Louis, MO The Palladium is one of St. Louis’s last remaining buildings with a link to the city’s significant music history. N/A
Shockoe Bottom Richmond, VA Shockoe Bottom was a center of the African slave trade between 1830 and 1865 -- over 350,000 slaves were traded there. N/A
The Palisades Englewood Cliffs, NJ The Palisades has been cherished by the nation and residents of New York and New Jersey for generations.  N/A
Union Terminal Cincinnati, OH Union Terminal, an iconic symbol of Cincinnati and one of the most significant Art Deco structures in the country. 280,000,000
Federal Historic Tax Credit *United States Since being signed into law by President Reagan, the federal historic tax credit has attracted $109 billion to the rehabilitation of nearly 40,000 historic commercial buildings in the U.S., creating 2.4 million jobs and sparking downtown revitalization nationwide.  N/A
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SOM Unveils Second Station for Florida’s Commuter Rail System
In May, SOM released renderings for Miami Station—a 1,000-foot-long, multimodal transit hub that would anchor the Sunshine State’s impending high-speed commuter rail system known as All Aboard Florida. The firm floated the station 50 feet atop reinforced concrete trusses to allow for restaurants and retail, and an uninterrupted street grid. Now, with the Miami station getting underway, SOM has unveiled plans for the system's Ft. Lauderdale station, and it appears that a design trend is emerging down in Florida. At first glance, the 27,500-square-foot station, designed by SOM and  Zyscovich Architects is just a smaller version of the first go-round in Miami as it is similarly defined by concrete trusses and lifted above grade. It is primarily comprised of stacked glass boxes that rise over the street and connect the ticketing lobby to the departures area. "Given the large scale of the All Aboard Florida project, creating a sense of overall unity for the entire transportation network – while conveying a sense of identity for each individual station – is one of the primary design goals," said SOM in a statement. "The design of the Fort Lauderdale station achieves this balance by incorporating the lightness and transparency that characterizes the Miami terminal, while taking advantage of its unique site to create a distinctive landmark for the port city. "Its design—lightweight and luminous—both responds to its setting and creates a striking infrastructural icon for the city," said Roger Duffy, a design partner at SOM, in a statement. This is essentially the same way Duffy described Miami Station when AN sat down with him in June. If it ain't broke... SOM and  Zyscovich are also designing All Aboard Florida's stations in Orlando and West Palm Beach, but no word yet on what a design for those stations might look like, or if trusses are slatted for those cities as well.
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Fred Schwartz, 1951-2014
Fred Schwartz at Yosemite.
David Dehart

Fred came into our family life before he joined our office. In late 1972 we moved with our fifteen month-old to an Art Nouveau house in an old suburb. For the first year we watched and learned. The roof needed replacing, the dining room was a racetrack for Jim’s tricycle, and in the yard weeds seemed to grow as we watched. We looked for ways to get house and yard tasks done while we spent our days at the office. Who could be intrigued by this work? Who might accept free board and lodge and grad student hourly rates in return for weeding, pruning, and house maintenance in the summer? Architecture students!

We advertised at several schools in early 1975 and Fred arrived for an interview. He was dressed for office work in New York and we wondered how he would do at weeding, but an unruly mop of brown hair reminded us that he had recently been at UC Berkeley. We felt reassured. He joined us that summer as our first “handyperson”—neuter gender: women and men would do the work. Our 39th has just arrived.

Over the summer, Fred worked his way into our lives. Our son Jim, when asked at four, “who’s your best friend?” replied “Fwedwic.” At seven he would add that his best friend was 27. Because Bob and I had few family members nearby and because our aunts and uncles had been important to us, I looked for strong characters as surrogate family for Jim. Fred was the first and the relationship lasted all his life.

He helped define the job and was one of our best workers. He told us about his recent time at Berkeley and described his friendship with Joe Esherick, whom I had known there. Joe added, when he visited Fred, that he had been in our house before, with his uncle William Esherick, whose sculpture the owners had commissioned. Another Fred UC Berkeley story was of selling homemade hamburgers to charretting fellow students. It was a business with a social dimension—some people got hamburgers for free. Doing good while doing well was a Fred theme.

In his summer with us Fred was a laid-back Californian, with a huge zest for life. He spread fun around him and cared very much about friends and work. At summer’s end he returned to Harvard but would visit when he could. One summer my parents arrived bringing four grandchildren and a babysitter, and there was, as well, our second handyperson. Every night those two looked for places to sleep, given the crowd and the heat, and every evening Fred organized a barbeque and cooked dinner. Four more children gained an uncle, and Fred told me that he had found in Jim the little brother he had always wanted.

Back at school, he worked part-time with SOM, on a street project in Cambridge. Something took him to San Francisco and, while he was there, I suggested he tape an oral history of an old friend and colleague—really old: he had started teaching at Berkeley in 1911. He had built a house in the Berkeley hills and had found someone “to draw the blue prints of my design,” as he put it. “Who was the architect?” I asked, “Oh a funny old man, you wouldn’t know him–Bernard Maybeck.” I had visited his Maybeck house and remembered well my friend’s stories of life at Berkeley then. The Smithsonian had been taping the more famous dimensions of Charles Seeger’s story, but I felt Fred should catch the parts on architecture, especially as Charles continued with an account, rather weirder, of John Galen Howard.

So Fred made the tape. Then life caught up with him and the project was stowed. He told me the tapes were safe among his things, but they should be available for students and scholars. Charles Seeger chatting with Fred Schwartz about Berkeley in the 1910s, what a joy!

Fred worked in our office on several inner-city and small-town planning projects, outcomes of our Las Vegas and South Street studies. Fred’s indicative designs for our Princeton CBD project and his perspective drawing of our recommendations for the Miami Beach Deco District, are among the beauties of our office. In these, he collaborated with Bob and me but also with Steve Izenour on the work Steve did best, and he saw Mary Yee, a planner who could do anything, evolving social and economic recommendations for what is now South Beach.

These experiences supported his later global work, helping him become a rare architect whose creativity covered design and the intellectual challenges of urbanism. Even rarer, he understood my role as both architect and planner in the office and how the two came together. I think we helped him hone his combat skills, which he occasionally used to support me—at an urban design conference in New York, for example, when he corrected a panelist who called our Miami work “Venturi’s project.” It was, Fred said, “Scott Brown’s project.” The panelist, I forget which New York pooh-bah, had a fit and stalked off the stage, only to return and redirect his stalk. He had walked into a closet.

When our Westway project came up, it was clear Fred should be project manager. This meant returning to live in New York. He gave notice at his Philadelphia apartment, then the project was delayed. “Live with us a month or so, Fred, no need for another apartment.” This triggered a year with us at home, expecting to leave from month to month. It also cemented his friendship with Jim. In New York Fred set up our office. Westway involved design at all scales and more work, this time, with Bob who was deeply invested in evolving a water edge geography to meet New York human urban need, but missed striped bass sexual need. It was a wonderful experience while it lasted, but it helped me define “honeypot” projects—ones where private interests are masked as public concerns and no good can come of them.

As Westway ended, Fred arrived at our Philadelphia office with a long list of ticked off items and a few left to discuss. “Thank you deeply for all you do” we said, and he replied, “I’m leaving.” After years of practice, I knew we must accept that people would leave. Fred was obviously headed toward a good future and we had to let him go. But this did not alleviate our sadness, or Fred’s, as you could see from his face. Yet he said there would be many ways of working together and there were, most initiated by him.

We were all involved with decorative arts designs for Knoll and Swid Powell, applying universals of urbanism and architecture (appropriately, we hoped) to a universe of everyday objects, and “mixing metaphors” to join commonplace and high culture. From these principles we evolved the “Grandmother” fabric, where flowers from an old kitchen tablecloth were overlaid with a standard office stationery pattern. The tablecloth was literally from a grandmother—Fred’s.

From age 12 we allowed Jim to travel to New York alone to meet Fred. Only later did I find a map drawn by Fred, showing him how to take the subway on his own to a cool barber that he liked. When Fred went to the American Academy in Rome, we put him in touch with Carolina Vaccaro, whom I first met careening in her walker through her father’s studio, when we worked for him. Now an architect and teacher she widened the circle of “family” around Fred and as they became friends, he renamed himself Schwartzini. Then we sent Jim, age 14. Unknown to the administration, he slept on the floor in Fred’s studio and ate in the kitchen, to the joy of the staff, who adored the towheaded young American, as they had adored Bob when he was a Fellow there. Then word got out. “Where did you go, Jim?” we asked, “To Francois.” And where was that?  “At the French Academy.”  Our child was moving in elevated circles. “Francois” was Jim’s mispronunciation of Francoise Blanc, a beautiful French architect, friend of Fred and Carolina, who worked in New York and was later a collaborator with us in Toulouse. Fred, Carolina, and Francoise cared for Jim in Rome, and the dynasty continues today into the third generation.

At 16 Jim left high school and worked in a pizza parlor. At 18 he announced he was going to New York. “Not on your own,” we said. Well then to Fred. Poor Fred! He owed us one for the year at home but not the presence of a rebellious teenager. Yet he found ways to protect his social life. Meanwhile Jim, whose rebellion subsided among ambitious young professionals, set up Fred’s office computer systems and did the same for several small New York architecture firms.

Fred was sine qua non to my “Architecture of Well-being” studio at Harvard, and our firms joined to enter a competition for the Whitehall Ferry Terminal.  When we won it we walked together into another honey pot. For this and related reasons we removed ourselves from the project, leaving Fred the architect. We disagreed with his choice to stay and felt that the building, which should have been a bright postage-stamp at the foot of Manhattan, had missed an opportunity. This situation caused tension, but so did much else—architecture is full of them—and we got on with the major opportunities occurring in our lives. Jim kept the communication open.

Fred’s project for the World Trade Center, New York’s biggest honey pot, did not win, but Fred’s role in it gave him a mysterious authority. Even without it, something about Fred made people trust him. So he could practice and lecture worldwide. Then we heard that he was sick. Fred did not want it known. His professional life was expanding and though darkness inevitably hung over him this seemed to spur his energy and he took on myriad tasks: New Orleans, airports in India, memorials and commemorations, somber but with a lilt. Some projects, saving the Lieb House, for example, you could call quixotic. Watch the film Fred and Jim made of the move. Fred is bald, tired, no more a laid-back Berkeley student, but a hard-bitten New Yorker. He holds the phone as if it’s part of him. Tracey, his beautiful and brave partner in life and work, is helping. “Well how much insurance do you want?’’ he asks over the phone, “$100,000 in case it falls into the water? It ain’t going to fall into the water.” His passion conveys urgency and New Jersey Government and agencies meet the challenge.

Fred was doing God’s work in the nitty-gritty. “I’m good at these things,” he said as he agreed to take on strategizing to change the conditions of the AIA Gold Medal. Our years of sending in our nomination only to have it returned unopened because it was for both of us, might be over now. This was because close on 20,000 petitioners worldwide had asked that the Pritzker prize reconsider their decision to make their award in 1991 to Bob without me. Perhaps the tide was turning. Fred set about canvassing state AIA chapters, finding a majority at the edges rather than the center, and when the vote came in they had gone for the change. Up to two people could be awarded so long as the creativity came from both of them. Fred’s strategies had succeeded where other’s equally devoted had not. But we are so grateful to all of them. Fred had worked hard with an equally spirited AIA group that included George Miller, the president of the AIA at the time, and various chapter presidents from across the country. It was his parting gift to me and perhaps the AIA’s to him.

I saw him at a small meeting in New York last summer. His beard was very long and grey and he wore a small black pill-box cap, Moorish in tone. He looked like an Old Testament prophet. After that we spoke about strategy by phone. Then I merely said, “Just float. Think of all the good you’ve done.” Then I left messages from Bob and me. In the last week Jim was with them much of the time, for Fred and to help Tracey sort things out. I hope there’s a corner in heaven where Fred can follow his interest in how some people beset by tsunamis manage to live on floodplains.

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Floating Transit
Courtesy SOM

As flashy, glass towers pull Downtown Miami ever skyward, SOM has unveiled plans for a transit hub that floats 50 feet above terre ferme. The 1,000-foot-long Miami Station sits atop reinforced concrete trusses and is set to become a cornerstone in Florida’s long-awaited, inter-city, express rail. The station—which has retail and restaurants—is just one third of a 3-million-square-foot development site that includes new residential and commercial towers, which will be phased-in after the station is completed.

Pending the finalization of financing, All Aboard Florida—the private company bringing the rail system to the Sunshine State—expects to break ground on SOM’s $150 million station this fall. And, according to a prospectus recently obtained by the Palm Beach Post, All Aboard expects to start running 32 daily trips on the tracks in 2016.

 
 

The planned commuter service, which is built primarily on existing freight rail, runs 235 miles between Orlando and Miami with stops in Florida and West Palm Beach – SOM is designing those stations as well. For Miami Station, SOM worked alongside Zyscovich Architects to create an intermodal hub that connects All Aboard’s service with Downtown Miami’s people mover and the city’s larger mass-transit system. In total, the station is predicted to serve 12 million people in Miami and 42 million across the state.

The two firms raised the station’s rails to keep the street-grid intact and allow for restaurants and retail. This positioning is also intended to create a sense of openness in a neighborhood with staggering density. “We characterize it as a land bridge,” said Roger Duffy, a design partner at SOM. “It connects the courts district of Miami to the emerging cultural district.”

 

For the station itself, SOM created a light-filled terminal to make the experience of commuting more intuitive. As Duffy and SOM’s Kristopher Takacs explained, the best transit hubs of Europe and Asia tend to have high-ceilings and airy spaces where commuters do not need to rely on signage. They tried to replicate that in Miami.

The architects believe that making the station commuter-friendly and architecturally distinct are both vital components in its ultimate success, because, while the upfront funding appears to be secured, there is no guarantee that people in Florida will embrace this mode of transportation. Takacs said that in order to secure ridership, the experience of using the station has to be extremely desirable. “Part of that is creating a door-to-door experience that is built around hospitality and that also allows you to arrive at an urban destination,” he said.

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Miami Architects Add Visual Weight to City’s Major League Soccer Quest
A lack of a viable stadium had been seen as a key hole in Miami's efforts to welcome a Major League Soccer franchise. Now local firm Arquitectonica has stepped in to fill that void, collaborating with 360 Architecture to design a potential waterfront soccer venue. The campaign has a rather dashing face in the form of soccer-star David Beckham, who has provided vocal and financial backing for the plan and apparently played active role in the design concept and siting of the proposed stadium. Beckham asked the architects to embrace the notion of water and beach as key elements of the idea of Miami, a consideration that seems to have manifested itself in the wavy amorphous forms of the building. Arquitectonica principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia sees the stadium as a cog in the ongoing development of the Port of Miami, which was selected from a list of 30 locations under consideration. Hotels and office buildings are other new additions seen flanking the stadium in preliminary renderings. Realization of the team is still a ways away, but co-owner Marcelo Claure set an optimistic 2017 date for an MLS debut. Despite the renderings, a waterfront address is no guarantee as negotiations regarding stadium locale are ongoing with Miami-Dade County and Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. The city's entry will be preceded by Northern neighbors Orlando, who plan to have the woefully-named Orlando City SC ready to join the league by 2015. New York is also set to welcome a second team next year, though their search for a permanent home has been beset by controversy. Delays may force the team to debut in a temporary venue while more lasting arrangements are made.