Posts tagged with "Miami":

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The largest 3D printed object in the world, and more from day one of Design Miami/

It’s day one of the annual Miami art and design fairs and The Architect's Newspaper (AN) is back for another year. Today we are in the smaller Design Miami/ tent across the street from the gigantic Art Basel fair. This design fair is usually a mix of a few international prototypes by the world's best designers, lots of frilly and useless baubles like beaded fantasy animals and chairs meant for adult children, and finally original pieces by classic designers like Jean Prouvé, Le Corbusier, George Nakashima, and even Gaetano Pesce. If one knows what they like, the entire fair can be seen in 30 minutes. As in the past, the Design Miami/ tent is fronted by a small pavilion or folly, and this year SHoP Architects have created one of the best pavilions in recent memory. Titled Flotsam & Jetsam, SHoP worked to create the installation with Branch Technology, a Chattanooga-based fabrication firm, Dassault Systems, for project management, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who provided a second 3D printing material technology (a biodegradable bamboo medium) for the surrounding seating. (Learn more about the installation, the largest 3D printed object in the world, in our prior coverage.) After Design Miami/, Flotsam & Jetsam will be reinstalled in the Miami Design District’s iconic Jungle Plaza to house an outdoor cultural event space for long-term public enjoyment. The space will be launched with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami on December 1, 2017. Inside the design tent, there was little that was new but a few items stood out: Konstantin Grcic’s limited edition chair/table he calls Hieronymus Minero in the Galerie Kreo booth, along with his glass and metal table with funny rubber wires coming from its black frame. The best lighting design came from The Future Perfect with their aptly named Floor Double Loop by designer Michael Anastassiades. Carpenters Workshop Gallery also showed a clever and beautiful glass ceiling light named Les Cordes by Mathieu Lehanneur. Finally, South Africa’s Southern Guild presented their Num Num bronze and glass dining table. The standouts of the fair—and some are stunning—are the classic 20th century pieces and we will present them in a separate post.
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An iconic Miami villa-turned-museum prepares for a major expansion to reclaim its former glory

Miami’s Villa Vizcaya, an Italian villa on Biscayne Bay built by industrialist and farm machinery magnate James Deering in 1914, has told the story of its creation since opening to the public in 1953. Although not fully completed until 1922, the museum-house recently celebrated its centennial.

A new master plan in the works for Vizcaya encompasses a substantial expansion and the reincorporation of various lost or forgotten elements of the estate, including a model farm, adjoining Italian farm village, and portions of the gardens that have been neglected and closed to the public for decades. For the first time since the heirs of Deering donated it to the public, Vizcaya will be able to tell substantial parts of its story almost lost to history.

In the estate’s formal gardens, a “marine garden,” unseen by the public since being damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, has reopened, and a destroyed water garden, as well as a wide set of stairs that once led to a private beach, have been recently rediscovered. An exhibition of contemporary art on view at Vizcaya through October 2017 is also drawing attention to many more of these spaces, including the estate’s moat (now a dry chasm through a forested section of the grounds), and parts of the original gardens.

But perhaps the largest “missing” element of that story is the farm, which Vizcaya is reclaiming as its current occupant—the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science—moves downtown, and the Italian farm village. Vizcaya’s administrators are hoping to use the village, which still exists quite close to its original form, for a mixture of public programming, collections storage (including open storage), and offices. The master plan then proposes the demolition of the former science museum to restore the farm site as open green space.

The original farm will be partially reconstructed and a reforested area will act as a buffer zone between the estate and the neighboring homes. “One of the most important things is the arrival of visitors and how they move through the village,” said Remko Jansonius, Vizcaya’s deputy director of collections and curatorial affairs.

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City of Miami to borrow $45 million to preserve Miami Marine Stadium

After decades of abandonment, the historic Miami Marine Stadium is set to get a new lease on life. The City of Miami declared it will borrow up to $45 million to preserve the stadium, an open-air venue for boat races on Biscayne Bay designed by architect Hilario Candela and completed in 1963. The cantilevered concrete structure was severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and left to decay. Over the years, efforts to preserve the stadium have come in cycles. Two years ago, a local group floated the idea of stadium-saving murals, and earlier this year the National Trust for Historic Preservation teamed up with Dade Heritage Trust to revive the structure, which is now covered in graffiti. That crowdfunding campaign raised over $110,000 for the stadium's preservation. Most recently, this November Miami commissioners approved a $37 million restoration as well as the construction of a new 35,000-square-foot maritime center adjacent to the stadium. The project will be paid for by yet-to-be-issued special obligation bonds. The renovations and new construction are part of a city plan to revive Virginia Key, the publicly-owned barrier island that is home to oceanography research labs and the Miami Seaquarium, among other attractions. The park and basin surrounding the stadium is the site of the Miami International Boat Show, an annual trade convention for recreational boaters. The financial approval is a big step forward for the stadium, but it's not its last hurdle. The city is still figuring out whether it will hire a private firm to run the venue, and its contract negotiations with architect Richard Heisenbottle are ongoing. Regardless, preservationists are counting the announcement as a strong win. “This is a great day for Miami Marine Stadium and for the millions of people in South Florida who love this important place,” Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told the Miami Herald. The vote, Meeks said, "represents the critical financial commitment needed to bring the stadium back to life as the focal point of Virginia Key.” As many municipalities tighten their budgets, preservationists and citizen-builders are turning to crowdfunding to generate publicity and financial backing for seemingly quixotic projects. In April New York–based artist and designer Nancy Nowacek raised over $25,000 for a bridge to link Red Hook and Governors Island, while plans are underway in Baltimore to build a monument to Divine, the character immortalized in John Waters's 1972 film, Pink Flamingos.
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AN Exclusive: First look at Airbnb and Pedro&Juana’s Design Miami installation

Two design worlds will collide this year in Miami as the Mexico City-based design duo Pedro&Juana will debut Sobremesa, an interactive installation created for Design Miami/ in collaboration with Airbnb. The translucent house-like structure will serve as a gathering space that will be a hub for the duration of Design Miami/. Visitors are invited to socialize and to collaborate on the completion of the space, as anyone can add to it with a series of colorful tiles. The interior space of Sobramesa will be filled with objects and artisan pieces from Mexico City, sourced by Pedro&Juana and designed by locals. Sobramesa will be connected to an outdoor space, blending indoor and outdoor living—a tradition in both Miami and Mexico City Literally translated as ‘over the table,’ “sobremesa” is a concept, deeply rooted in Mexican culture, that loosely translates as the indeterminate amount of time people spend together lingering around a table after a meal to share in casual conversation. “The Mexican idea of ‘sobremesa’ is about not rushing but instead enjoying shared company and connecting on a personal level,” said Mecky Reuss, co-founder of Pedro&Juana. “It is something special to Mexican and Spanish culture that can be enjoyed by people everywhere.” Pedro&Juana will host a series of “sobremesas” in the space during the week, where they will invite visitors to share in meals, cocktails, and music at designated times. In addition, the designers will curate a playlist with Mexico City-based musicians including Trio Martino, Rulo, Los Shajatos, Sonido Changorama, and NAAFI, among others. “A lot of our work examines social spaces and how individuals interact with the built environment,” said Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo, co-founder of Pedro&Juana. “Working with Airbnb on this project is a great opportunity for us to build on this experience while also exploring elements of our home city, Mexico City.” Sobremesa is the latest in Airbnb’s collaborations with up-and-coming designers from around the world, exploring the concepts of domesticity, gathering, and shared living. Past projects include Sugi No Ie (Yoshino Cedar House) (Yoshino, August 2016), Makers and Bakers (Milan, April 2016), belong. here. now. (Miami, December 2015), Housewarming (Milan, April 2015), and A Place Called Home (London, September 2014). “What excites me about a project like this is that we can apply what we learn from it to the larger Airbnb experience,” said Joe Gebbia, CPO & Co-Founder of Airbnb. “Working with emerging designers like Pedro&Juana and giving them free reign to explore concepts around travel and sharing is enormously beneficial for us. Having a background in design myself, I am always curious to see how other designers think and what unique perspectives and insight they’ll bring to our brand.” Sobremesa will be on view at Design Miami/ November 30-December 4, 2016. Meridian Avenue & 19th Street Adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center Miami Beach, FL
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From the Everglades to the Rockaways, this Brooklyn firm works with communities to design for resiliency

Walter Meyer and Jennifer Bolstad, founders of and partners in Local Office Landscape and Urban Design (LOLA), are earning a reputation for their innovative resiliency projects at the edges of civilization—coastlines and islands. With a multipronged approach that they describe as part architecture, part environmental remediation, and part community organization, Meyer and Bolstad are battling the effects of environmental change on cities and their populations. Managing editor Olivia Martin talked with them about LOLA’s approach to resiliency and future-proofing the planet—from working on post-Hurricane Sandy conditions in the Rockaways to remediating coastal areas of Florida.

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN): You say that resiliency is the new sustainability. Why?

Walter Meyer: It’s a new buzzword, so people confuse it and interchange it with sustainability as though they are the same thing. But sustainability is a derivative of Frederic Clements’s climax theory, in which a field, for example, will change each decade, from soil to weeds to shrubs to trees and then climax as a hardwood forest—this is a snapshot of nature in 3-D.

What emerged after World War II was a new theory of the natural cycles of time. Rather than seeking an equilibrium theory of nature, there is a disequilibrium, where nature is trying to balance itself and adapt to change. Those who can anticipate and respond to change quicker are the ones who have the upper hand.

The big difference is that resiliency is dynamic and changing, while sustainability is static. In terms of scale, sustainability is holistic and more big-picture, and resiliency is more local. So I think of sustainability as an old model but still an important tool.

AN: Do you have examples of where sustainability failed us and why it should no longer be considered the gold standard, so to speak?

Jennifer Bolstad: Well, a few years ago, I consulted on One World Trade Center, which is a very sustainable building [LEED Gold]. But when the mechanical system drowned in Hurricane Sandy and couldn’t be used anymore, the firm in charge ultimately decided it was cheaper to abandon it and leave several floors uninhabited rather than fix it.

Meyer: Also during Hurricane Sandy, all of the buildings that ran on photovoltaics failed because the city grid was down. So, literally, every single building with solar was down. This is because there is a law that if the grid goes down, you can’t back charge the line with your solar panels, because you’ll zap the workers trying to fix the grid. Since then, they invented a hybrid inverter that “islands” the building into a microgrid, so it can function independently off of the grid. There needs to be a dynamic relationship with nature, and we should be creating multilayered systems.

AN: You have a lot of work in Florida right now that deals with water management. How does resiliency factor into those projects?

Meyer: All of the articles written about Miami focus on the ocean and city. It’s all about the ocean—and that makes for good headlines. But what’s missed is that Miami’s most vulnerable areas are in the Everglades, on the west side of the city, because they have freshwater, five feet higher than the ocean, that can’t become diluted with salt water or else Miami loses its water source.

The area near Everglades National Park is particularly at risk because the main flow of the water runs north–south, down from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay, and a secondary flow of water runs east–west—like a spine and ribs. Originally, the secondary water flow moved through transverse glades and occasionally wet bogs and sloughs. Since the channels weren’t actual rivers, the city filled them in, and now, when it rains, the houses on those streets along these former sloughs flood. The homes are considered Repetitive Loss properties and the owners cannot collect insurance for the damage anymore. The buildings’ foundations are cracking, due to the water infiltrating the alkaline bedrock, literally melting it. We are trying to open up more options to the people who are stuck in these houses but don’t want to leave their community.

Normally, there is a lot of discussion about design activists, but we are more like community organizers—we want to engage the residents themselves. It’s a lot of listening and then designing and showing them what legal options are available, or creating new ones. One option is a CLT, a community land trust—where everyone buys into this idea, and you work with a public–private partnership, such as a developer and the county. For this neighborhood, it’s about creating high density along the edge of the vulnerable corridor, along the slough of the transverse glades, and doing this three blocks at a time.

If you can organize just three blocks—the center of the slough, a transitional, and a bank—then this creates a housing swap, where the residents can continue their normal lives and not have their schedules disrupted. So, for example, you can move out of the home into a temporary housing unit; then the home will be demolished and turned into a flood storage park, and you will have the option of moving or the right of first refusal to a new high-density, 40-percent affordable housing unit nearby. This makes more sense than simply moving everyone to higher ground because, then, those who are already at higher ground could be dislocated due to rising real estate costs—already Florida developers are looking at luxury housing inland—and this creates new levels of climate refugees.

AN: So, resiliency aside, is relocating more responsible than fixing?

Meyer: Well, that is what leads to climate gentrification; the issue of scale is a major one. If you take a holistic approach and just get everyone out of harm’s way, then you aren’t paying attention to the social fabric. For example, Staten Island was a state buyout project; the government essentially said, “We’ll buy your house, and you can take the money and run.” The problem with that is then the people basically had to move out to Newark because the buyout price point doesn’t acknowledge the gentrification, and $200,000 or $300,000 won’t get you another house in the city. In the Edgemere Urban Renewal Area, in Rockaway, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency offered more options than just a buyout—such as housing swaps and other solutions at the neighborhood scale.

Bolstad: We focus on the built environment in a way that looks at how cultural issues touch the ecological issues. In the Florida project, people very much want out of their houses that are constantly flooding, but they still want to stay within a five-mile radius so they can be near family and keep their routines. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, even if you believe in a long-term retreat from those areas. Otherwise, you end up with people who are not there by choice, like when Robert Moses dislocated people in the Bronx in the 1960s and moved them out to the beach. Economically vulnerable populations ended up in environmentally vulnerable areas.

And it’s not just the built environment. Even if we aren’t preserving the area for housing in the long term, then the environmental situation needs to remain. That barrier [the Rockaway peninsula] is the first line of defense in the city and Lower Manhattan, and, without active management of the environment of that place, it risks the rest of New York City.

Meyer: I like to quote my mentor and city planner Ronald Shiffman when we talk about these issues: “These disturbances don’t discriminate, but our reaction to them can.” We want to make the most just city we can.

For more on LOLA's projects, see their website.

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Foster + Partners reveals plans for Miami towers set to be the city’s tallest

British firm Foster + Partners has submitted new plans to Miami city authorities for what—if approved—will be the tallest building south of Manhattan along the East Coast. Officially known as "The Towers" (really?) the project sees two rectilinear structures rising up from the Brickell waterfront, with the tallest of the pair reaching 1,049 feet. In compliance with density constrictions from the City of Miami’s Miami 21 zoning code, the two towers will hold 660 living units—a 16 percent decrease on the initially proposed 787. The structures' heights, however, have not been an issue with Federal Aviation Administration: The organization has already granted the project approval.

At the building's base, car parking areas have been divided in two and are encased by retail areas and more living units. This layout diverges from the standard singular "monolithic" car parking podium typical to Miami (car garages are a big deal in the city). According to the firm, this "frees up space at the ground level" and "creates an engaging public realm." Furthermore, The Towers' relationship to the site at street level sees restaurants, cafes, and art gallery spaces laid out inside a tropical garden. 56,800 square feet of the 2.5-acre scheme will be publicly accessible.

“The base of the building continues the axis of SE 12th Terrace, drawing life back to the bay. It is a civic response to the city’s enlightened vision, and will make an important contribution to Miami’s public spaces," said Norman Foster, chairman and founder of Foster + Partners. As both towers rise up, the structure has been stepped back and thinned to allow sufficient daylight to enter the vicinity around the base while preserving views out to sea. With that height in such a location, though, comes the issue of high winds. To counter this, strategic planting and adjustable louvres that can be lowered over a central plaza will act as wind breakers. To cope with extreme weather conditions, belt beam bracings (also used to support bridge apartments that span the tower floor plates) will tie the towers together ensuring they can withstand hurricanes.
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Miami battles rising floodwaters even as development booms

In terms of cities and climate change, Miami Beach is the biggest canary in the coal mine. At approximately four feet above sea level, this 19-square-mile strip of artificial and natural islands faces frequent flooding during storms and high tides. (Last September’s king tide—a colloquial term for high tide—reached 2.2 feet.)

The city is aggressively fighting the watery onslaught: Over the next five years, Miami Beach will spend $400 to $500 million in anti-flooding defenses that include pumps, raised roads, and seawalls.

This is money well spent. The Miami area sits on limestone that absorbs floodwaters and can force the deluge back to the surface, making flood control a special challenge. Still, environmental concerns aren’t stopping new developments across Miami. The economic timeframe for developers (and the residents buying and renting) remains relatively short compared to the long-term threat.

In addition to flooding, another, more insidious threat looms: Miami maintains its Biscayne Aquifer by channeling freshwater from Lake Okeechobee to push back against saltwater intrusion, which means the region may have to choose between flooding or drinking salt water. By 2060, some estimates place sea-level rise at three feet. Further down the line, questions of how federal and private insurers will provide flood coverage —and how eager banks will be to issue mortgages—may also arise.

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SHoP Architects announced as winners of the 2016 Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award

New York-based SHoP Architects has been named as this year's winners of the Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award. Now in its third year, the award recognized SHoP for their "bold, evocative architecture, philanthropic initiatives, sustainable development, and innovative practices/entrepreneurship." As a result, the firm will get to see their installation, Flotsam & Jetsam built in the Miami Design District's Jungle Plaza. In their 20 year history, SHoP has had projects built across the U.S. but has found most success in New York City. Currently, a super tall mixed-use tower is going up in Brooklyn—the borough's first. "SHoP is a place where people come together without any prescribed idea about what the esthetics of a building or public space should be, then we take complex problems and solve them with both beauty and technical proficiency," SHoP Founding Principal Gregg Pasquarelli said in a press release. "Working with Design Miami has been a great experience and a perfect opportunity to explore the expressive possibilities of tomorrow's architecture." Using Chattanooga-based 3D printing and fabrication firm, Branch Technology, Flotsam & Jetsam looks to push the boundaries of the 3D-printed medium (especially in terms of scale). The installation—stylistically reminiscent of work by Marc Fornes & Theverymany—sees a series of arching bamboo legs join to form a canopy and seating area. The bamboo however, is no ordinary bamboo. SHoP chose Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to supply a biodegradable bamboo 3D print medium. This method of construction can produce forms on an unprecedented scale, and when built, SHoP's Flotsam & Jetsam will be the largest 3D-printed structure in the world. Located in the Jungle Plaza, the installation will play host to an outdoor cultural event space. Here, talks, performances, and cocktail events will take place. SHoP's work will also be launched with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) in Spring/Summer 2017 along with a community program for bringing "world-class" public sculpture to the city. SHoP will be presented with their award at the Design Miami/ press reception on Tuesday, November 29. “SHoP represents exactly what the Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award is meant to recognize: innovation, inspiration and an outstanding point-of-view,” said Rodman Primack, chief creative officer, Design Miami/. “For the first time, we will be installing the commission long-term in the Miami Design District and I cannot think of a better practice to conceive this installation. We are thrilled with the pavilion design and delighted to honor SHoP for the 12th edition of Design Miami.”
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Eight years in, how has Miami’s form-based code primed the city for unprecedented growth?

Over the past 15 to 20 years, Miami has become a city of condo dwellers, a shift that transformed the cityscape’s pattern of suburban sprawl and single family houses under palm trees to coastline-following mountain ranges of luxury towers that reach for the sky. In the 1980s, the Golden Girls lived in a house, but when the Kardashians came to town, they chose a condo in South Beach. 

As more people flooded into Miami’s urban areas, the city took action to help new buildings and infrastructure adapt to the urban shift. In 2008, Miami approved Miami 21, the first New Urbanist zoning code to be applied to a large, preexisting city.  The form-based code was applied to a citywide rezoning and was a huge test for an urban planning movement that is more common in small towns like Seaside, Florida, the famous Truman Show locale. The code, enacted as the growing city was quickly running out of land, has led to a reassessment of how Miami works, and has prompted a more logical regeneration of the city’s urban core.

New and old Miamians are moving into towers in areas around Downtown, like Edgewater, Brickell, and Midtown. Buildings are being built for people, not cars. Street frontages are activated. Parking garages are hidden.

Traffic, however, is getting worse. Mobility suffers with inadequate mass transit, yet people keep coming as international appeal remains as high as ever. As Miami’s density increases, the city needs more effective mass transit. Miami’s growth is reaching a breaking point that infrastructure, backed by new policy, is designed to address.

MiamiCentral, a massive new train station and mixed-use mega project, is being built in the center of Downtown Miami where an older train station, demolished half a century ago, once stood. The new station, with residential, commercial, and retail space, started as a terminal for an intra-metropolitan area high-speed rail line that in a few years will take passengers to Orlando in about three hours. MiamiCentral will also be the terminus for a new spur of Greater Miami’s commuter rail system, Tri-Rail, which will bring commuter rail into downtown for the first time.

Other new transit improvements are being considered across the city and the greater metropolitan area, including an expanded trolley bus system, a westward rail connection, a northeast light-rail corridor, and a light-rail line connecting to Miami Beach across Biscayne Bay.

Although one of Miami’s newer claims to fame, or at least notoriety, is high-design parking garages, excessive parking requirements meant for a world where everyone has a car are outdated. Parking is a persistent issue with Miami 21, as standard parking minimums are unchanged from the previous auto-oriented zoning code. The requirement to build 1.5 parking spaces per unit means that infill construction on Miami’s standard-sized 50-foot lots is unnecessarily costly and physically impractical, if not downright impossible, once driveways are considered.

Last October, the city passed a new rule that allows up to 50 percent parking reductions in transit-accessible areas with a 100 percent reduction for buildings under 10,000 square feet. The changes aim to encourage the small-scale infill urbanism that so often forms the basic building blocks of successful older cities. The main advocate behind the reduction, developer Andrew Frey, is building a small infill development without parking in Little Havana that he hopes will inspire others.

As new neighborhoods grow, special zoning districts are being created to suit them. In Wynwood, Miami’s famed mural district, the existing industrial zoning became increasingly unsuitable for a creative neighborhood where people live, work, and go out. A requirement for live-work housing created large and expensive units, not the smaller, more affordable housing that locals desired. Street conditions were basic and not conducive to the pedestrian-driven neighborhood. Last year, the Wynwood Business Improvement District commissioned a master plan that became the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District zoning overlay in July 2015. The code’s standards weren’t adequate for the evolving neighborhood, but a provision allows for these kinds of overlays.

Since the implementation of Miami 21, neighborhood groups and developers have created overlays like the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization Districts and Special Area Plans (a similar tool developers use when creating a large assemblage) to create neighborhood-appropriate zoning. Miami 21’s revisions at the neighborhood scale demonstrate both its flexibility and imperfections, but it clearly creates a nuanced framework for the city that’s simultaneously logical citywide and hyperlocal to the human scale.

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Artist to create first real-life “Vaporwave Mall” in Miami

The artist Aileen Quintana is creating an homage to internet cultural relics and the dying American mall in an installation for this year’s III Points Music, Art & Technology Festival in Miami. The “Vaporwave” genre has been called “the internet’s collective nostalgia”: a grouping of the various IRL ("in real life") ephemera that defined the activities supplanted digitally by the World Wide Web, like shopping, waiting in line, and listening to muzak in elevators. (Note: Vaporwave is very different from vaporware.) Art and music produced within the Vaporwave genre dabble in a mix of surrealism, kitsch, and nostalgia. Quintana’s “Vaporwave Mall” takes inspiration from the genre directly and will feature a bazaar of clichés from consumer-oriented, recreational capitalism to outfit a collection of fashion storefronts and art installations at the festival. Preliminary images of the installation show brightly-painted mannequins and the wire rack scaffolding used to display merchandise in mall outlets. The creativity festival, which Quintana cofounded in 2013, will take place in Miami's artsy Wynwood neighborhood between October 8th and October 10th, 2016 and will feature Quintana’s “mall” as a key installation. The artist told the Miami New Times this week, “Conceptually, it’s like couture club kids. I have the opportunity to associate the fashion component to the audio component and create this hybrid where the art is vivid and the creativity is more because it’s influenced by music.”
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More images reveal what James Corner’s Underline project will look like

A pop-up preview of James Corner Field Operations’(JCFO) “Brickell Backyard” will be unveiled Tuesday next week. The temporary mini-gym and fitness area has been designed and installed by Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation and will provide a six-month sneak preview of what is to come for the Underline project.

The event will signal the start of the Underline's first stage of development. It's the precursor to the “Brickell Underline Park," a northern section of the Underline located near the Miami River. The park aims to breathe new life into the ten-mile stretch of underused land beneath Miami’s Metrorail, transforming it into a linear park, urban trail and living art destination. Once complete, the area will offer picnic areas, park benches, native vegetation, a nature-inspired playground, a dog park, basketball court, and art installations. In addition to this, further mixed-use parks are planned for other parts of the Underline, all of which come under JCFO’s master plan for the site.

According to the Underline website, the project is "aimed at encouraging Miami-Dade residents to walk, bike or ride transit as an alternative to driving... [it] will serve as an enhanced mobility corridor, designed to better connect communities, improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and promote a healthier lifestyle with accessible green spaces and park amenities for exercise and relaxation."

The Underline is the product of a public/private partnership among Miami-Dade Parks, Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works, and Friends of The Underline. It also fits within the county’s wider scheme of the Masterplan Greenway network that comprises 500 miles of trails and connected public spaces.

As for the Underline’s “Brickell Backyard” fitness area, funding for the pop-up gym equipment—amounting to a total of $47,000—will come from the Community Outlay Reserve Funds (CORF).

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Downtown Miami to get micro-living apartment tower

Miami’s Urban Design Review Board (UDRB) approved a micro-living apartment tower with no parking from entrepreneur and developer Moishe Mana and Zyscovich Architects. The design was approved by the city’s Urban Design Review Board this morning along with the Miami Worldcenter plan, a 10-block, 30-acre development led by Elkus Manfredi architects. The Worldcenter's blueprints were approved despite general concerns over landscaping and architecture. These two schemes indicate that Miami's downtown is on the brink of some major changes. The micro-living tower received an enthusiastic response; according to the Miami Herald,  landscape architect and board member Gerald Marston called the tower by Mana and Zyscovich Architects a “very, very creative addition to the city.” Mana and Zyscovich Architects’ tower, with its small, affordable units and no parking garage, is a welcome change to downtown Miami, which has earned a reputation for its over-the-top condos and elaborate parking garages. UDRB makes recommendations to Miami’s city planning director and had rejected a previous iteration of the Worldcenter plan in 2014. The new Worldcenter complex will replace a massive, multi-block indoor mall with distinct retail buildings, a Marriott Marquis, convention space, and 4.5 acres of open area that will include a north-south pedestrian paseo and two outdoor plazas. Along with its approval, UDRB made recommendations that the open spaces be developed further and that retail shops be added to the ground level. This plan is intended to bring continuity to the Park West neighborhood and make it more available and welcoming to pedestrians. Pedestrian-friendly, micro-living, car-free? What does Miami think it is? L.A.?