Posts tagged with "Arquitectonica":

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Arquitectonica to design new $1 billion “Innovation District” in Miami

Developer Tony Cho and investor Bob Zangrillo, the CEOs of Dragon Global and Metro 1 respectively, aim to transform the neighborhood of Little Haiti in Miami. Working with Miami studio Arquitectonica, the pair proposes that areas between Northeast 60th and 64th streets to the south and north, and Northeast Second Avenue and a railroad line to the west and east, be developed (in phases) as a gargantuan mixed-use project. 170,000 square feet of the site's former industrial spaces will be repurposed to include an innovation center for start-ups and businesses. According to the Miami Herald, Cho and Zangrillo hope to bring entrepreneurs to the $1 billion campus and keep them there, offering housing and spaces to both work and play. “We are investing money, cleaning things up, bringing more street lights and security in the neighborhood; we’re bringing in art, creating jobs,” Cho said. “I see Miami melding as an urban node. These are all becoming very interesting neighborhoods.” Phase one of the "Innovation District" will see the construction of a sculpture garden, a 30,000-square-foot "Magic City Studios," and the innovation center. The latter will span 15,000 square feet and be part of the "Factory," which will also feature an amphitheater for events. Despite the wealth of square footage available, none will be allocated to parking, furthering the walkable and pedestrian friendly campus feel of the development. Instead, small apartments will negate the need for what Cho calls a “behemoth garage space” that would take up valuable land and only drive up the cost of housing. Speaking in the Wall Street Journal, Cho added that ride-hailing apps would plug the transport gap. The Herald, meanwhile, also reports that listed tenants so far include Salty Donut, Aqua Elements, Photopia, Baby Cotton, ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), Wynwood Shipping, and Etnia Barcelona.
Phase one is so far penned for 2018 and will be privately financed. The Zangrillo and Cho also mentioned that office and retail space, affordable workforce housing, including micro-units, and even a boutique hotel could possibly come in the future.
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Babylon Apartments in Miami, one of Arquitectonica’s first designs, is at risk

One of Miami-based firm Arquitectonica’s first buildings, the Babylon Apartments, is at risk of demolition if its longtime owner—former spaghetti western star Francisco Martinez-Celeiro (also known as George Martin)—gets his way. With its bright red ziggurat form, the six-story structure is an icon of subtropical postmodernist architecture in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood and one of the signature buildings of the city’s 1980s Miami Vice era. The Babylon also earned Arquitectonica its first international award, a Progressive Architecture Citation Award, only a few years after the firm’s founding in 1977.

Although the Babylon is 34 years old—well below the typical fifty-year cutoff for historic designation—the City of Miami’s Historic Preservation board is considering the fate of the iconic structure on the grounds that it demonstrates “exceptional importance.” A final-draft historic designation report was publicly released earlier this year, causing a flurry of press and community awareness. A Change.org petition was started. The modernism-preservation group Docomomo rallied for its protection.

This attention is with good reason: Arquitectonica designed the Babylon in 1979, the same time as the much larger Palace Condominium on the other end of Brickell Bay Drive (although the Babylon wasn’t built until 1982). “It was one of our first buildings, our first building that’s not a house, and it hasn’t been kept up that well over the years,” Arquitectonica principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia recently told a group of University of Miami students.

Indeed, the building’s owner was about to obtain a demolition permit for the site in hopes of constructing a much taller building when historic preservation board member Lynn Lewis requested a report from city staff on May 3 on its potential for designation, setting in place a 120-day moratorium on demolition.

Celeiro has owned the Babylon since 1989, and has been trying to demolish the building and get its land zoned for a 48-story structure for the past two years. Up until recently it was at least partially occupied, although according to neighbors nobody has been seen inside lately.

Amidst all of this, the usually outspoken Fort-Brescia and his wife, Laurinda Hope Spear, have declined to give their own opinions on the question of preservation itself. “I shouldn’t talk about the Babylon being demolished because I’m not the one to talk about that,” Fort-Brescia said.

Architect Andrés Duany, a former principal at Arquitectonica and founder of Duany Plater-Zyberk, was much more outspoken. “Arquitectonica is the most important firm in Miami, probably in the Caribbean, possibly in the southeastern United States, in the last 50 years—since Morris Lapidus,” Duany told the Miami Herald. “If they were to demolish this building, it would be an act of cultural barbarism. Completely beneath the artistic reputation that Miami thinks it has. And it would betray that we are nothing but a bunch of swamp-dwelling barbarians. Still.”

When Miami’s historic preservation board considered the Babylon for historic protection at its July 5 meeting, the designation passed with unanimous vote of 6–0. Although this makes the designation official, the owner’s legal team submitted an appeal challenging the designation on the last day of the 15-day appeals period. The City Commission will hear the appeal on November 17, 2016.

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After 13 years and multiple changes, San Francisco planners approve massive project by Arquitectonica

After a drawn out, 13-year process, architecture firm Arquitectonica has rolled back the years on its design for the final installment for Trinity Place on San Francisco's Market Street. The firm has reverted to a design it originally conceived back in 2006 and had approved in 2007. However, the final phase required much back and forth and Arquitectonica and San Francisco's Planning Department have just now found accord and are moving forward. Since Arquitectonica submitted its original plan in 2003 for the site, 13 years have passed along with numerous iterations to the project. Originally, 1,410 housing units had been planned, but this proposal was altered in 2006 due to complaints from locals. After that, the final third phase of the project lay in limbo, being changed and changed again in the process. But while the project stalled, the area has also changed. When Arquitectonica cofounder Bernardo Fort-Brescia submitted yet another set of plans last week (that were very close to the 2006 scheme), the San Francisco Department acknowledged that perhaps Mission/Market Street had caught up and finally gave it the green light. Prior to Arquitectonica's inception, the 4.5-acre plot was occupied by a motel that in the 1970s had been converted into apartments. Now, two, 24-story cubic volumes rise up, interlocking and overlapping with various elements, all of the same simple orthogonal nature. The structure houses 440 units, "360 of which are rent controlled," the firm said, settling one of the earlier disputes. This, however, is just the "first phase" (which has already been built) of Arquitectonica's overall plan, which will offer a whopping 1,900-units. Phase two lies on the same plot. It boasts 105 more units with 21,000-square-feet of retail space, while the third and final phase will use a Tetris-like, golden "L" shape to house 915 new residences. They don't come cheap, either, with prices starting at $2,775 for an unfurnished "junior one bedroom." "We wanted to start with something very graphic and pure compared to the background of San Francisco, and then the composition changes personality from one building to the next," said Fort-Brescia. "By the time it reaches Market Street, we’re trying to create a more subtle streetscape."
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Arquitectonica leads design team for three Toronto towers

Arquitectonica in collaboration with New York firm S9 Architecture and Toronto-based Sweeney & Co. Architects have designed three mid-rise residential towers in Toronto, the tallest of which will be 526 feet high. The project is being spearheaded by WAM Development Group and will occupy a four-acre plot between 245–285 Queen East and Sherbourne and Ontario Streets as well as 348–412 on Richmond. Upon brief observation, the towers look like three lowercase i's aligned in a row. This is due to a recreational floor two-thirds up each of the towers. These spaces will house indoor and outdoor amenities including a living garden patio. The tallest tower, 45 stories tall, sits in the middle flanked by the other two slightly smaller buildings, both 466 feet high (39 storeys). At pedestrian level, the towers will be connected by a retail podium and public space. According to regional commentary forum Urban Toronto the "massive redevelopment will completely change the height, density, and urban character of Queen and Sherbourne." In terms of density, the trio of towers will add 1,645 housing units to the vicinity, being divvied up into 340 single bedroom; 832 single-bedroom with "den"; 235 double bedroom; 69 two-bedroom with "den", and 169 three-bedroom apartments. Of the 1,645 units, 1,110 are currently planned as rentable spaces. As for the public realm, brick paving has been used to contrast the glazed facade of the towers, creating a much more localized place and offering an alternate sense of scale. Within the area, protection from the elements will come in the form of a glass canopy so to maintain the aspect of openness.
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Arquitectonica gets real wavy with new seaside tower in Florida

Arquitectonica tests the surf with ocean-influenced Regalia, a newly unveiled 488-foot-tall luxury condo in Sunny Isles, a city northeast of Miami. But the Florida skyscraper is leaving us with a distinct sense of déjà vu. The tower looks strikingly similar to Studio Gang's Aqua in Chicago. While Gang's undulating concrete balconies extend as far as 12 feet to maximize views in the skyscraper-dense downtown, Arquitectonica's balconies in the same style afford uninterrupted views of the Atlantic on the building's sea-side. Gang's curving terraces were based on striated limestone outcroppings in the Great Lakes region, while Arquitectonica's are modeled on ocean waves. Although Chicago's lake-affected weather presumably hinders Aqua residents from enjoying their outdoor spaces year-round, Regalia's residents will have unfettered access to their sunny terraces all the time, if the barrier island the building is situated on doesn't flood or sink in the meantime. Regalia's 39 floor-through units and two penthouses are spread over 46 stories. "A rectangular glass prism houses the functional requirements," explained Bernardo Fort-Brescia, founding partner of Arquitectonica, in a statement to designboom. "Its transparent surfaces connect inside and outside, linking the occupants with the surrounding environment. Its orthogonal geometry creates elegant, serene, classical, zen-like spaces. Each floor is wrapped by a sensuously undulating terrace. The resulting walk-around veranda protects the glass surfaces from the sun, as in traditional Florida homes. It is this veranda that shapes the architecture." This is not the first curvy tower the Miami–based firm has designed for the Sunshine State. Last year, their 42-story residential tower, also inspired by (far choppier, it seems) ocean waves, opened on Miami's Biscayne Bay.
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Arquitectonica’s newly opened zig-zagging tower in Miami is meant to reflect the rippling waters of Biscayne Bay

Miami-based Arquitectonica has completed a zig-zagging tower on booming Miami's Biscayne Bay. The 42-story, luxury residence building was developed by the Related Group and has been dubbed the Icon Bay. Icon Bay's distinctive textured facade is created through a playful repetition of the structure's balconies and is said to have been a response to the untamed ripples of the Biscayne's waters as they flutter against the breeze. These elevated terraces provide for sweeping waterfront views. The tower includes its own bayside park, also designed by Arquitectonica. The park's circular walkways move through an outdoor art exhibition space. Icon Bay is but one of the many new construction projects that have recently found its way to Miami's shores.
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Florida’s AIA chapter opens up the architecture polls with its 2015 People’s Choice Awards

Floridians and visitors can show their appreciation for their favorite local community buildings with AIA Florida's 2nd Annual People's Choice Award sponsored by the Florida Foundation for Architecture. From June 29th until July 31st, voters can choose between the 48 state-located buildings and so far 30,000 individuals have weighed in. Killearn Lakes Elementary School in Tallahassee, for example, currently holds the number one spot. This Hoy+Stark designed structure captivates with its crisp, clean-cut modernist appeal that redefines your typical elementary school. In 8th place, South Miami's Dade Cultural Arts Center features multiple facilities that cater to dance rehearsals and community meetings. This Arquitectonica-designed center accommodates outdoor endeavors, too, with its sloped promenade. The design firm can also boast a waterfront view alongside their second People's Choice Award nominated building, UM's Student Activities Center. The People's Choice Award highlights the importance of architecture and commemorates the influence that architects leave in the community. "We are proud to recognize the work of architects, who are truly the designers of Florida's communities," said Bill Hercules, AIA, President of the Board of Trustees of the Florida Foundation for Architecture. Results will be announced on August 1st at AIA Florida's Annual Convention in Boca Raton. To view all the projects and cast your vote, click here.
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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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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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Was The Revel Casino’s Design Its Fatal Flaw?

Two years ago, AN visited the newly-opened Revel Casino in Atlantic City. At the time, the glassy $2.4 billion complex, designed by Arquitectonica and BLT Architects, was expected to be a transformative property for the iconic boardwalk that offered gambling, convention space, and entertainment. "It's more of an urban development plan than a typical casino plan," Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis told AN. "I am really hoping that we are successful." In mid-August, we learned that they were not. In its short two-and-a-half year lifespan, the casino never turned a profit. The casino's parent company recently  announced that they weren't able to find a buyer for the bankrupt complex and that Revel's last day would be September 10th. That date has already been moved up—the hotel will now close on September 1st, Labor Day. The casino will close the day after, which will put over 3,000 people out of work. Revel's huge cost, and its very short lifespan, has unsurprisingly received lots of attention, but its closing is just the latest sign of trouble in Atlantic City—the Showboat will close on August 31st, Trump Plaza calls it quits on September 16th, and the Atlantic Club shuttered in January. These closings reflect Atlantic City's challenge to stay relevant amongst more competition. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently noted that Atlantic City, which had been the nation's second-largest gambling market ranking just behind Nevada, has now fallen behind Pennsylvania. But in terms of Revel, specifically, its design may have been its fatal flaw. “The enormous cost of the property, its vast size and its peculiar configuration—patrons had to ride a steep escalator from the lobby to get to the casino, the 57-story hotel and the restaurants—made it difficult to turn a profit,” reported the New York Times. These sentiments were echoed by industry experts who spoke to the Inquirer in June. They mentioned the "long distance between the casino floor and the hotel's front desk, a casino floor that fails to engage gamblers, and vast empty spaces that make Revel expensive to heat and cool." And Alan R. Woinski, chief executive of Gaming USA Corp, pulled no punches when describing his thoughts on the property. "The best thing that could have happened to that property is Hurricane Sandy, instead of nailing Seaside Heights, would have nailed that property. That thing should have wound up in the ocean instead of the roller coaster," he told the publication. "It's sad, but unfortunately that was the only way, to completely knock the thing down and redo it."
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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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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.