A new luxury residential tower is coming to the Miami skyline: Elysee Residences. Construction for this 57-story condominium at 700 NE 23rd Street in the East Edgewater neighborhood is currently underway and should be completed by 2018, according to a recent press release for the project. The project team consists of South Florida-based real estate development firm Two Roads Development, Miami-based architecture firm Arquitectonica, and Paris-based interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot. The tower, directly on the water along Biscayne Bay, will house 100 units, some half-floor and others full-floor residences, each boasting direct views of the water. In order to take full advantage of these waterfront views, the building grows larger as it ascends into the sky, creating a bold, multi-tiered silhouette. “In this era of technology, this design challenges gravity and announces the triumph of man,” said Bernardo Fort-Brescia, founding principal of Arquitectonica, in a design brief. Other features of the Elysee Residences include a Bayfront facing sunrise pool on the lobby level, a 75-foot resort pool, fitness center, outdoor summer kitchen/barbecue area, yoga studio, spa, a Grand Dining Room, and a library that converts to private theater on the 30th floor level. The building’s pricing ranges from $1.85 million to over $10 million, translating to an average $750 per square foot. When complete, the tower will be the tallest in the Edgewater district.
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Can decay on the Bay be forestalled? In 2014, a local group floated the idea of murals, and now, two nonprofits, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Dade Heritage Trust, are renewing efforts to restore the Miami Marine Stadium on Biscayne Bay. Shuttered since 1992, both organizations have had their eyes on saving the seaside stadium for years. The National Trust listed the structure, built in 1963, on its annual 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2009, and declared it a National Treasure three years later. In a bid to cement its preservation in perpetuity, the stadium has been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. If approved, the cost of the restoration would be reduced by $6 million, as the project would qualify for federal historic tax credits. To introduce attendees to the preservation cause, the Dade Trust and the National Trust will run an information kiosk at the Miami International Boat Show, in Virginia Key, from February 11 to 15. A petition that circulating there and online asks City of Miami commissioners to prioritize the stadium's restoration this year. Already, the city has created an advisory committee to decide on future directions for Virginia Key, which includes the restoration and reopening of the stadium. An RFQ for engineering and architectural services for the stadium is out, and so far Miami has spent more than $20 million on restoring land around the stadium. Designed by Hilario Candela, a 27 year old Cuban architect, the all-concrete, 6,566 seat stadium was built to watch speedboat races. The roof, as long as a football field, was the longest span of cantilevered concrete in the world when it was built. The folded plate roof is anchored by eight concrete columns set back as far as physics would allow to afford almost unimpeded views of the bay. To draw attention to their cause and highlight the stadium's design, the National Trust will project vintage stadium footage in the evenings onto the structure this Friday through Sunday.
The Miami Design District is renowned for its novel architectural and art scene, including many novel parking garages by top architects. In a sort of game of architectural one-upmanship, another parking garage is about to add a jolt of art by transforming its facade into a larger-than-life canvas. The so-called Museum Garage will be clad with six radically different facades, all designed by different practices. Due for completion by the end of this year, the garage's display was curated by Terence Riley of K/R Architects and will feature an eclectic mix of facade designs ranging from a wall of used cars, human-scale ant farm-esque cut-outs, and partially tessellating oversized corner detail. The teams working on the designs include Sagmeister & Walsh; Work Architecture Company (WORKac); K/R Keenen Riley Architects; Clavel Arquitectos; J. Mayer H.; and Nicolas Buffe. Together, these facades will be part of a seven story floor and retail space, with a garage (hence the name) being able to accommodate for 800 cars. Clavel Arquitectos, based in Murcia and Miami, drew on the vicinity's urban growth with the facade being named Urban Jam. Subsequently the design will feature 45 reused cars, all of which have been painted silver and gold. New York–based WORKac incorporated what appears to be an enormous cut-out "ant farm" or a stylized "Rorschach Test" facade into the design for its program that includes a library, playground, and a pop-up art space. Serious Play comes from Paris and Tokyo-based Nicolas Buffe. Taking inspiration from retro video games, cartoons fill the facade in juxtaposition with baroque decoration detailing. From Berlin, J. Mayer H. introduced XOX, featuring an embedded lighting system. While sounding like a Miami club it is anything but and will probably be the only car part with tessellating corner components painted with car stripes in the area. Also from New York are Sagmeister & Walsh. But I Only Want You is a mural with burning candles at each ends implying that, despite being at at extremes, love can find a way. Finally, curators K/R Architects, from New York and Miami, use mockup traffic barriers for the facade. Dispersed among the "barricades" are light fittings which will draw attention to the barriers at night, being able to spin with the wind.
West Avenue in Miami Beach is set for a Jean Nouvel high rise surrounded by an elaborate man-made lagoon. The tower will be covered with suspended vegetation that, at least in renderings, casts the structure in a distinctly green hue. This is Nouvel's second attempt at building in the city after his Grove Heights project lost a competition in 2013. "Monad Terrace" as the 14-story tower is known, is set to top out at 149 feet, just a hair below the city's height limit of 150 feet. Developers JDS also recruited Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design to work on the scheme which boasts a glass facade encircled by water and a green wall, covered in foliage on one side. Inside, the structure will hold approximately 80 residential units that will offer two–five bedroom layouts, each with views out three or four sides of the building. Topping the structure are two penthouses, each with its own private pool. To maintain privacy, reflective screens—that allow views out but obscure view in—sit in front windows, creating a staggered facade. The lagoon, however, is the complex's showpiece. Occupants can stroll up to seating in the middle and edges of the lagoon or take a dip in the swimming pool along the bay where a waterfall is planned. According to managing partner at JDS Development Group, Michael Stern, the pool will be visible from the bay. It's not all good news though. Elaborate water features may be easy on the eye, but rising sea levels are a very real threat to those along the coast on Miami's South Beach. The issue surfaced late last year when The New Yorker published findings that said the idyllic retreats of the area could be underwater in under 50 years. Nouvel's design however, looks to be high and dry. "Our design is very conscious of what is going on to changes to the streets and concerns about sea level rise," said Stern speaking to Curbed Miami. Monad Terrace will be the first building in the West Avenue vicinity to encompass the higher street level requirements. Nouvel has been inclusive of the potential disastrous surroundings in his design. Landscaping dotted around the building can absorb water, meanwhile below street-level garages can act as water-tight "bathtubs." Speaking on the matter, Stern commented that "the landscape is designed that if any salt water intruded it is tough enough to live through that event."
Large fairs like Art Basel/Miami always include a few galleries selling works by master architects as well as younger artists whose concerns cross into architectural, urban, and spatial territories. The just-concluded 2015 Miami fair didn’t have a great deal of architectural work this year but enough to keep architects pushing through its seemingly endless hallways of gallery stalls. In the first case Sao Paulo gallery Bergamin & Gomide has a beautiful collection of objects and drawings by Roberto Burle Marx, including his organic free flowing gold jewelry colorful renderings of the 1938 rooftop garden design for the ministry of education and public health. But if I were a (wealthy) collector I would have gone for his playful hand made wooden model for a mural in the 1954 Pignatari house. The other master who has been a staple at recent art fairs is Jean Prouve, whose small prefabricated metal, glass, and wood pavilions have sold for high prices. In 2015, galleries seem to be reduced to stripping off panels and ventilating grills from his remaining buildings to sell and these were in both Art Basel and Design Miami fairs. The most intriguing architectural work this year was from Italian Gruppo T artist Gianni Colombo. His 1968 Intermutabili wood maquette that is part of his Spazio Elastico cycle was a thrill to find in the fair. It was created to explain a full scale room installation for the 1967 Gratz Trigon 67 exhibition and then was re-installed at the 1988 Venice art biennale. The London gallery selling the Grupp T artist Robilant & Voena claims the model described an environment that was “a walk-in cube divided into spatial volumes by tense elastic cords treated with fluorescent paint.” The cords were apparently lit with ultraviolet light and subjected to deforming rhythmic horizontal and vertical tension by four electric motors that changed the configuration of the spaces according to predetermined rhythmic variations in the motors themselves. It allowed visitors to move from one cube to another, and within each cube to observe the other “deforming” cubes. A central theme in this series of works was Colombo’s intention for the viewer to become an active participant, indeed a "technician," partaking in a game whose rules were defined by the artist. But Colombo also believed that “viewers must start to feel an intellectual understanding of the concept on which the design is based and of the artistic set of rules and methods governing the conception itself" and its “game-rules,” or the taut cords, were constantly present in the experience that the project-object offers at every level of its “consumption.” It is a brilliant example of what artists can bring to the investigation of space and time. A younger generation of artists that grabbing the attention of architects included the multi media artist Sam Durant who gallerist, Sadie Coles, showed his 2015 Epistemologies that “questions the role culture plays in the development of formal communities” of an early pre-modern frontier settlement. New York’s Essex Street gallery showed two artists who made powerful connections between form, urbanism and art: Cameron Rowland and Park McArthur. Rowland’s 2015 Lashing Bars, Lloyd’s Register Certificates that made seductively beautiful connections between metal lashing bars which physically (while its certification is established to insure the value of the goods) secures goods to the deck of the ship that often included slaves being shipped across the sea and were insured by Lloyd's, and form that appears "sculptural." Essex Street also showed nine columns of stacked street signs that are taken from those often contradictory examples all over New York City streets and then empties them out of their written content. McArthur’s signs demonstrate the ways that authority and guidance are manifested physically and spatially. Even without language, there is a set of rules and prescriptive power in the signage, for instance in the use of the color red as a warning. McArthur’s work attempts to dislodge and reconfigure the signs’ command. The works are indicative of McArthur’s overall project of “doubting normative jurisdiction and combatting the imperceptible and presumably ostensive role of format.” The Art Basel art fair is not the Venice Biennale and skews to the commercial side, but there are, in its endless hallways, brilliant example of what artists can bring to the investigation of space and time.
One of the great joys of art and art and architecture fairs is the energy they create for specialized focused architecture exhibitions at alternative sites away from the main venues. This is true for all Venice Art and Architecture Biennales and the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy. This week's Art Basel/Design Miami, perhaps because it is still a relatively young event and focused on art and design and not architecture, is short on these sorts of serious ancillary events. But there is one small yet highly focused and detailed exhibit that stands out this week. Curated by Alastair Gordon (along with a class of students he taught this semester at FIU), the exhibit Accidental Architect: Robert Motherwell, Pierre Chareau and the Quonset House of 1947 details the house that Chareau designed for the New York painter in East Hampton when the Hamptons were still affordable for artists. Gordon obsessively photographed the house a week before it was destroyed in 1985. Quonset huts, of course, have a great legacy in America during war time, but this was not an ordinary metal unit but one tweaked and detailed by the master French architect. The exhibit has some of Gordon's beautiful detailed photographs of the structure that shows the outer limits of what can be accomplished with mass produced technology. We owe Gordon a debt not just for his obsessively detailed images, but the intelligence with which he put this show together. Gordon tied it to Motherwell’s artistic conversation with the house and his Mexican-born wife, Maria Ferreira y Moyers, who was making her own experiments in art and prose and became, in effect, a "third collaborator" on the design of the house. Barney Rosset, publisher of Grove Press, bought the property in 1952 and added incongruous cedar shingles and Spanish tiles. Despite many protests, the house was demolished in 1985 to make way for an "Adirondack-style" McMansion. The exhibit is in the Main Gallery of the Miami Beach Urban Studios at 420 Lincoln Road, 4th Floor.
Zaha Hadid is not only one of the best known architects in the world, but after pursuing her own personal visionary path for over forty years, she is one of the most bankable. Her drawings and design objects are all over the 2015 design fairs this week in Miami. Revolution Precrafted Properties is showing a backyard pavilion (top) and Sarah Myerscough Gallery from London is showing a series of collaborative vessels by Zaha Hadid and Gareth Neal (below), that sell for $30,000 (plus tax). In addition, the star of Harvard's design schools kickoff party at Miami developer Craig Robins' house was his bespoke Corian bathroom designed by Ms. Hadid. Not even the David Adjaye–designed backyard pavilion was a match for this all white maintaince room.
One of the early highlights of Miami Art and Design Week is the spectacular Larry Bell sculpture 6X6 An Improvisation at White Cube Gallery’s pop up space in the Wynwood Art District. Last night, Bell was interviewed by uber questioner Hans Ulrich Obrist in the gallery next to the piece. Bell talked about his years learning to manufacture and laminate his art pieces on East 9th Street in New York City after Pace Gallery sold out his show before he even arrived at the gallery. He also described his early years as a painter (he started out studying graphic design) influenced by Willem De Kooning, which eventually had him make spaces of wood and glasses rather than paint them. Bell described the nearly unlimited spatial and geometric possibilities of his glass cubes. When Obrist, who always wants to be prepared for his interviews, asked Bell to consider his installations as collages, referencing Vladimir Tatlin and others. Bell did not seem to want think about his work as Obrist farmed it and blurted out, “Hans and I only met for a few minutes before this talk,” and "I don’t know what to say about the work!"
The Architect’s Newspaper will be in Miami this week for a slew of art and design events including Art Basel, Unbuilt, Design Miami, the Salone del Mobile preview, and launches of the new Institute of Contemporary Art and limited edition Ducati motorcycle. We have received a huge digital and paper file of official press releases but there may be scattered events and launches that have not landed on our desk. Is there anything the AN audience should know about on the edges of the official events? What are we missing? Let us know here in the comments below or tell us about your design highlights of the week!
The Chicago based Design With Company have been commissioned by Airbnb to design an installation for Design Miami/. Conceived as a large space of familiar building fragments, the so-called belong. here. now. will be an interactive space to be programmed throughout the week-long festival, with performances, events, and exhibitions. Occupying a lot which has never been activated by Design Miami/, across from the main venue, the design incorporates a series of columns, walls, seating areas, and thresholds that invite the public to interact with the project in undefined ways. Design With Company, a team comprising of Allison Newmeyer and Stewart Hicks, is no stranger to instigating impromptu public performance with their work. In their recent project Porch Parade in Vancouver B.C. they built a series of technicolor “front porches” as a stage set of public interaction. belong. here. now. engages with similar motifs evoking scenes of a Roman forum, held in perfect ruin just far enough to be re-imagined for new use. The soft pastel colors bring the project into Miami with a nod and a wink. Design Miami/ will be held in Miami Beach from December 2–6, 2015.
Miami is a place of sunshine and gloss, bronzed bodies and signature cocktails. But for architecture critic and author Alastair Gordon, the underlying dynamics—including the harsh realities of income inequality and rising sea levels—are what make the city truly interesting. These dynamics are further obscured by the recent construction boom. "There are these crazy investments from overseas," said Gordon. "A lot is coming from South America, but also Europe, China, and Russia. That's fascinating, but it's completely in denial of what else is happening in Miami." Architecture can play a role in bridging the gap between the real and the ideal, said Gordon, pointing to Herzog & de Meuron's Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) as a prime example. Gordon will be on site at the museum on Friday, September 11, leading a tour of the Faena District, Miami Beach, and the Design District on the second day of the Facades+ Miami conference. "PAMM is great architecture and a great museum, but it's also a great piece of urbanism," said Gordon. "It shows you what the rest of the city could be" through its relationship to a proposed bike bath and water taxi system. "It suggests a whole new paradigm not just for how a museum operates, but for the city," concluded Gordon. On Thursday, September 10, Gordon will moderate a panel discussion on "Miami: Buoyant City" as part of the Facades+ Miami symposium. Panelists include Zaha Hadid Architects' Chris Lépine, Ximena Caminos of the Faena Group, and Glavovic Studio's Margi Nothard. The three speakers each represent a different approach to facades, said Gordon. Zaha Hadid's 1000 Museum is more about "the building as pure facade, very high end," he said. "That building, more than any of them, is really state of the art in terms of structural integrity." Then there's the Faena District, which Gordon characterized as a "compromise, trying to do architecture with community involvement." Caminos, he explained "is the brains behind the cultural immersion they do. It's not just fancy architects parachuting into Miami. They really live here, they're extremely involved in community affairs." As for Nothard, Gordon says he is "a fan" of her work. "She has done extraordinary things with building affordable housing and senior housing on a level you can't believe." Gordon finds the topic of facades especially fitting for Miami. "It's always been a city of facade-ism," he said. "It's so much about appearance; people don't want to know what's going on behind the facade." But as the work of his co-panelists demonstrates, Miami's reputation for superficiality may be on the brink of a transformation, said Gordon. "In that way the city's changing in a really good way." To hear more from Gordon and his co-panelists, and to sign up for an exclusive field trip to the Faena District, Miami Beach, and the Design District, visit the Facades+ Miami website.
When it comes to navigating Miami’s zoning codes, Tecela principal Andrew Frey brings an experience-based advantage to the table. Before transitioning to the business side of development in early 2011, he spent six years as a zoning lawyer. “I always wanted to be a developer, and I learned a lot from my developer clients,” recalled Frey. Frey will moderate a panel on “Creative Facade Solutions: Responses to Local Zoning” at next week’s Facades+ Miami conference. Panelists include Arquitectonica founder Bernardo Fort Brescia; Carlos Rosso, president of The Related Group’s condominium division; City of Miami commissioner Marc Sarnoff; and Shulman + Associates founding principal Allan Shulman. From the perspective of the Miami-area developer, said Frey, the two most important factors in facade design and fabrication are moisture penetration and attractiveness. As an example, he pointed to an apartment building project in Coral Gables, completed while Frey was with his previous employer. To tackle the moisture issue, the development team paid special attention to the window assemblies, and to any areas where water could penetrate the stucco. On the aesthetic side, they worked within the city of Coral Gables’ incentives for Mediterranean architecture to design a complicated envelope articulated to break up the plane of the front wall. In general, observed Frey, the facade is “extremely important” in an urban environment. For an attached product, in particular, “it’s the only differentiation that the building will have, because you don’t see the sides or back,” he said. “Townhouses, row houses, brownstones—for that kind of a building, the facade is all it has.” With respect to how Miami building regulations impact envelope design and construction, Frey mentioned two potential problem areas. The first concerns Miami-Dade County’s hurricane code, which requires special approval for every product used. “The state of Florida and national building codes don’t count, so you’re somewhat limited in your choices,” he said. Frey cited Frank Gehry’s New World Center as a case in point. “When going through conceptual approval, they were proposing a very minimally supported glass wall,” he said. “What they wound up being able to build had very thick structural members.” (Frey acknowledged that other factors, including cost, may have led to the change in design.) Second, and more troublesome for Frey, is the subjective design review process. From his point of view, the existence of stringent design standards without an underlying commitment to fine-grained urban development reflects a confusion of priorities. “A lot of jurisdictions want to put in place very complicated facade design guidelines, but what they really need to do is to make small-scale urbanism developable,” explained Frey. “If your zoning just encourages super tall towers where the ground floor is an afterthought, of course you’re going to get monotonous, throwaway lower facades.” Hear more from Frey, his co-panelists, and other leading voices in facades design and fabrication at Facades+ Miami. Learn more and register today on the conference website.