Posts tagged with "Miami":

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University of Miami is now home to world’s largest hurricane simulator

Architects at Boston's CambridgeSeven have recently completed work on a sea study lab that includes the world's largest hurricane simulator. The 86,000-square-foot space, part of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, was pummeled by 2017's Hurricane Irma, but its ultra weatherproof design enabled the building to survive the storm relatively unscathed.

Perhaps the most distinctive component of the facility, officially known as Marine Technology and Life Sciences Seawater (MTLSS) Research Complex, is its hurricane simulator. The two-story storm room holds the SUrge-Structure-Atmospheric INteraction (SUSTAIN) lab, three wave and wind tanks that researchers deploy to ravage model cars and homes so they can better predict the path of hurricanes and understand the physics behind storm strength.

During Irma, the facility was subjected to the conditions it was built to study, and after the Category 4 storm subsided, the wind and wave tanks became temporary homes for fish from other labs displaced by flooding. In spite of—or perhaps owing to—natural disasters like Irma, though, the MTLSS complex maintains a strong connection to the sea: Water from Biscayne Bay is filtered for heat and cooling purposes, as well as purified for use in the facility's overflow-resistant seawater tanks, which together hold 38,000 gallons. The entire three-story facility, which includes offices and classrooms in addition to labs, is raised 15 feet above ground, a flood-proofing must in Miami.

A video released by the University of Miami goes on a deep dive into the facility:
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Ride this gigantic slide at a Miami mall

What's more fun than a slide? Nothing, except for maybe a supersized version of the playground standby.

Visitors to Miami's Aventura Mall get to ride exactly that. Designed by Belgian artist Carsten Höller, the 93-foot-tall pair of double-barreled slides run clockwise-counterclockwise, and can be ridden solo or with a buddy. Visitors ascend a spiral staircase to reach the top of the slippery titanium steel slides, which whisk riders away at dizzying speeds, up to 15 miles per hour. With their industrial finish and slightly goofy steampunk massing, the slides look less Miami, more City Museum—but a whole lot of fun nevertheless.

The slide-sculpture, officially Aventura Slide Tower, is part of the Aventura Mall's recent expansion, a three-level indoor-outdoor space designed around experiential art from the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Jorge Pardo, Ugo Rondinone, and others.

Mall-goers shared their reactions to the mega-slide on Instagram. Here's a real-time ride:

Höller, along with his friend Chloë Sevigny, glided down the tubes this weekend, too:
Happy reacts only:

And the winner is.... @baby_seal777 #carstenholler #adventuraslidetower #badseed

A post shared by amandaseason (@amandaseason) on

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Arquitectonica’s Babylon building to be torn down

Only a year after Miami-based Arquitectonica’s first realized project, the Babylon Apartments, won historic designation, Miami city commissioners have overturned its landmark status to pave the way for demolition. The apartment block’s bright red facade and stepped, ziggurat-inspired shape made the Babylon instantly iconic when it opened in 1982. Located in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, the five-story building is now dwarfed by the condo towers that surround it. Designed in response to the long, narrow plot it sits on, the Babylon's stepped form is extruded back through the lot. Although the 2016 designation of the Babylon by Miami’s historic preservation board was unanimous, it was pushed through against the wishes of the building’s owner, Francisco Martinez Celeiro. Citing an engineering survey, Martinez Celeiro claims that the Babylon is past the point of repair and needs to be torn down. The latest ruling, passed on January 26, is a response to Martinez Celeiro’s appeal of the original landmarking decision. Commissioners tore into the Babylon at the hearing and ultimately voted 4-1 to strip the building of its protection status. Commissioner Joe Carollo linked the building to Miami’s legacy of drug dealing and trafficking in the 1980’s, now immortalized in pop culture through Scarface and Miami Vice. “This is the real history of the Babylon,” said Carollo. “This is a place built on the cheap by a guy who was so high he didn’t know if he was coming or going most of the time. I’m amazed that we’re talking about this 35 years later. I’m amazed we have spent too much time glorifying one of the worst buildings in an era many of us would like to forget.” While the preservation board originally cited the Babylon’s “extraordinary merit” in inciting new development throughout downtown Miami, despite the building being less than 50 years old. Martinez Celeiro’s lawyers and architectural consultants disagree, saying the building leaks and is irreparable, having been built cheaply, and that the design pales in comparison to Arquitectonica’s later works. The reversal follows a two-year-long battle between Brickell residents, architects, and preservationists and Martinez Celeiro. After the latest decision, Martinez Celeiro is now free to build a condo tower on the site and has been lobbying the city to upzone the parcel to allow the construction of a 48-story tower. The demolition would come right on the heels of Arquitectonica’s 40th anniversary. The studio’s use of bold colors and blocky forms won its buildings cameos on shows such as Miami Vice, where they helped further Miami’s image as a glamorous, modern city and propelled Arquitectonica’s expansion into an international firm.
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Florida’s Brightline makes private, high-speed transit a reality

The United States, let alone Florida, is not known for its widely accessible and comprehensive regional mass transit networks. Bucking this trend, on January 15, the state inaugurated Brightline, a private passenger rail between the cities of West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale that shaves 30 minutes off the time required by car. While the distance between the two cities is not great, with the train journey taking just 40 minutes, the Brightline has reintroduced private commuter rail to the United States for the first time in decades. Although Brightline currently only operates between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, it is slated to expand to Miami and Orlando by 2020, utilizing 240 miles of track carving through densely populated Southeastern Florida. While not part of the current proposal, All Aboard Florida has suggested that Tampa and Jacksonville could be linked to the Brightline network. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Zyscovich Architects are designing the stations located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. All of the stations share a material palette and design aesthetic, while conforming to their individual environments. At the cost of $3.1 billion, Brightline promises to transform commuting between Miami and Orlando to a relatively minimal 3 hours, taking an hour off the drive time. According to Next City, the new rail service could take upwards of 3 million cars off of South Florida roads, with the potential to capture up to 20 percent of travel between the two cities, two of the most visited cities in the United States. The introductory fare between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale is $10, a bargain considering the amenities aboard the train, which include leather seats, free WiFi, power outlets and bike racks. As reported by USA Today, the Brightline will prove operationally profitable if it captures just 2 percent of the 100 million annual trips between Miami and Orlando. Fortress Investment Group, the parent company of the Brightline, is hedging that its investment in new transit hubs will increase property values surrounding stations as well as revenue generated by real estate development. Forrest Investment Group is already building more than 800 high-priced rentals at its Miami station and close to 300 in West Palm, in tandem with new skyscrapers dedicated to commercial and retail functions. While Brightline is based in Florida, its model of privately-funded and operated high-speed rail is replicable across the country. According to Modern Cities, Brightline is considering implementing its concept in similar urban corridors to those in Southeastern Florida, with the possibility of new links between Atlanta and Charlotte or Houston and Dallas. With the Trump administration’s recently leaked draft infrastructure plan emphasizing financially independent public transport systems, Brightline could prove to be a successful model for expanding rail service to millions of Americans while spurring high-density development in sprawl-ridden metropolitan areas.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Digital Fabrication

2017 Best of Design Award for Digital Fabrication: Under Magnitude Designer: Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY Location: Orlando, Florida Depending on the perspective of its visitors, the whimsical Under Magnitude calls upon different references from the known world; but any of its likenesses is pushed beyond its familiar scale. The two-story installation suspended in the atrium of Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center borrows and mismatches elements from biology, achieving a familiar yet mysterious quality—at once friendly and alien. The piece is in fact the sum of many constituent parts: A network of bulbous and bone-like branches comes together in a Y-shaped plan and reaches upward to form a shape reminiscent of a vault or a suction cup. The intricate, continuous surfaces of the 1-millimeter aluminum stripes are also structural. Knit into a unified system of columns and beams, a three-dimensional subspace comes together as a “shell from shells.” “The networked organic structure is fascinating in that it exemplifies the beauty and strength of non-linear design. It’s incredible that the aluminum panels interlock to become a massive suspended shell-structure. Fascinating exploration of the possibility of biophillic design.” —Emily Bauer, Landscape Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (juror) Commissioned by: Orange County Convention Center   Honorable Mention Project: Flotsam & Jetsam Architect: SHoP Architects Location: Miami Flotsam & Jetsam, the gateway to Design Miami 2016’s fair, found a permanent, public home in Miami’s Design District. The pavilions were 3-D printed in less than eight weeks by two project partners. The first used a proprietary method called Cellular Fabrication to print large-scale panels. The second harnessed polymer and bio-derived composites to print components—breaking new manufacturing ground.   Honorable Mention  Project: As We Are Designer: Matthew Mohr Studios Location: Columbus, Ohio As We Are addresses the relationship between self and representation of self. The 14-foot human head, made from ribbons of ultra-bright LED screens, includes a photo booth capable of taking 3-D pictures. Once a visitor has his or her picture taken, that person’s head is displayed on the visage.
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New ICA Miami opens a welcoming public space in the Design District

Since its founding, Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) has had a series of temporary homes, starting with a 1996 Charles Gwathmey-designed exhibition space and then a repurposed Art Deco office building in the city’s design district. But this week, the ICA, led by a new team helmed by Director Ellen Salpeter with help from some of Miami’s most important philanthropists and art collectors, finally has a permanent home. The museum, which is free to the public, sits on a site in the city’s Design District donated by Miami developer Craig Robins.The commercial district is chock-a-block with private art museums, including the Rubell, Margulies, and De la Cruz collections, and the ICA is not far from Herzog and de Meuron's 2013 Perez Art Museum. The new 37,000-square-foot ICA is designed by the Madrid-based firm, Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, who are barely known in this country, but have a significant body of public and institutional work in Spain and curated the Spanish pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002 . This week, AN interviewed the Spanish architects about their practice and the new Miami museum. A significant number of their projects have thus far been renovations of ancient existing stone buildings in Spain. Their design insertions for the Museum of Fine Arts and Gardens in Caceres and the Colmenar Viejo exhibition space display an ability to create powerful and idiosyncratic details of metal, wood and stone that mark their work as highly personal–almost expressionistic–in approach, juxtaposing the old and the new with a sensitive conviction. They brought their ability to create handsome details to the ICA’s two facades, but this is not what makes this project stand out in an a shopping district of bravura luxury brand commercial facades. Rather, it is the ICA’s openness to the street and the community that makes it such an exemplary building. The architects had hoped to design the lobby of the building to be entirely open, without front and back glazing, so that the public could walk through and under the building and into the back garden all in the open air. The sides of this lobby would be glazed and provide the sealed entries into the exhibition spaces. But perhaps because they imagined Miami’s reputation for pleasant weather from their Madrid desks, they know little about the hurricane needs of any construction here and the humidity of south Florida. Instead, the entry lobby is glazed, front and back, but still flows, as the architects imagined, from the public sidewalk through the building to the back garden that was designed in collaboration with New York architect Jonathan Caplan. The adjacent ground floor gallery also flows naturally through enormous glass walls, between inside and out, making the back garden space a continuation of the interior and a great new space in Miami, a city not known for popular public spaces, with the exception of the beach. Finally, Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design, the landscape architects of the 15,000-square-foot Petra and Stephen Levin Sculpture Garden, worked with the architects to create a discreet series of outdoor rooms, each with its own (temporary) sculpture and defined by discrete native plantings. The landscape architects intended for the space, when seen from the museum's second and third floors, to serve as a living canopy visually linking the museum to the unlimited sea of Miami trees. The ICA is a triumph, inside and out, for the museum, its trustees, the designers, and, most importantly, the public.
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ICA Miami opens its new home to the public

Representing the first U.S.-based project for Spanish studio Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, the new home of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) will be opening its doors to the public on Friday, December 1st. The ribbon cutting marks the start of Art Basel Miami Beach 2017, and the 37,000-square foot ICA Miami will be hosting a special exhibition of rising and well-established contemporary artists across all three stories of gallery space and outdoor sculpture garden. Representing a threefold increase in size over the old ICA Miami, the new museum is located in Miami’s Design District and includes new spaces for educational and community programming. Each of the building’s three floors are double-height, with the six ground-floor galleries holding long-term and permanent collections, while the second and third stories will host rotating special exhibitions for a total of 20,000-square feet of indoor presentation space. Visitors to the ICA Miami are greeted by a three-story metal façade made up of interlocking, patterned metal triangles and lighted panels, with cut-outs that specifically frame views from the museum’s interior. The back of the building features an all-glass curtain wall that allows guests on every floor to peer out over the 15,000-square foot, landscaped sculpture garden, and brings natural light into the gallery spaces. Besides hosting site-specific commissions and work by both post-war and contemporary sculptors, the garden also features educational space for public programming. A breezeway by the museum’s entrance gives visitors the option of walking directly from the street entrance to the back garden. The museum’s inaugural exhibition, The Everywhere Studio, seeks to examine the role of the artist’s studio and is a veritable who’s-who of post-war and contemporary artists, featuring works by Anna Oppermann, Carolee Schneemann, Roy Lichtenstein, Picasso, and more. Admission is free for the public.
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Van Alen competition on Miami’s sea level rise comes with $850,000 budget

Recognizing how vulnerable southern Florida is in the face of climate change, the Van Alen Institute has launched Keeping Current: A Sea-Level Rise Challenge for Greater Miami. Targeting the Greater Miami Area, Keeping Current is a multi-disciplinary design challenge that is not only looking for answers about how to build a more resilient coastal city, but also offers sites ready to turn the winning plans into reality, with an $850,000 budget to implement them. Hurricane Irma’s near-miss this past summer only served to underscore just how vulnerable Miami really is, in a city already under threat from rising sea levels, where saltwater bubbles up through the porous limestone bedrock below. Recognizing the problem’s urgency, Van Alen has teamed up with the Greater Miami Area municipalities’ resilience, procurement, and budget teams to evaluate resilient infrastructure projects that both adapt to climate change as well as safeguard the investment that local municipalities will put into the project. The contest itself is spread out over three challenges across two sites, scheduled for the winter, spring and fall of 2018. Working with local elected officials, stakeholders, academics and business leaders, design teams will propose resilient solutions for a variety of sites facing different climate change-related problems. Winning entries will focus on addressing “economy, ecology and equity” or balancing budget concerns with community input, and will be given a total of $850,000 to realize their designs in real life. Ultimately, the goal is that the winning designs be scalable and replicable across all of Florida. Keeping Current is about more than safeguarding existing infrastructure. What Van Alen and the municipalities want from this contest is to turn Miami into a leader in urban coastal resilience, while encouraging growth in an area that would be devastated by only a three-foot rise in sea levels. With everything from drinking water, to agriculture, to billions of dollars’ worth of residential and commercial buildings at risk, interdisciplanary solutions are needed now more than ever. Keeping Current is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, The Miami Foundation, and Target. The full design and community engagement guides will be made available by the Van Alen Institute in February of 2018.
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Miami approves two new luxury towers, including one inspired by tulips

Miami is set to get a new set of gleaming mixed-use towers after the city’s Urban Development Review Board approved two plans last week. Behar Font & Partners designed the 73-story Sterling, a 956-foot cloudbuster crowned with arcing glass and steel like an upended ship’s prow. Contained in the glass arch on top is a private floor with amenities for residents only, including a palm tree-fringed pool overlooking the city that resembles a futuristic cruise vessel. The structure will house 362 new apartments for rent, 300 hotel rooms, as well as extensive office and retail space and a restaurant on the 68th floor. The project is located on the corner of North Miami Avenue and 6th Street. The developer behind the project, Turkey-based Okan Group, asked that the building’s shape be informed by their country’s national flower, the tulip. Behar Font delivered: from the side, the building's peak splits into three discrete petal-like forms connected by beams, everything painted dental white. Okan Group bought the property this past spring from a church at a price tag of $18.1 million dollars. At the meeting where the plan was approved, the Turkish consul general in Miami attended alongside the developers. It also marks Okan Group's first project in Florida. Allan Shulman designed the other (yet to be named) development, a 43-floor hotel with a curving facade of blue and green paneled glass, tapering at the top. At its base, the facade cuts away to reveal a white gridded rectangular structure with greenery hanging from its many balconies. The building will house office and retail space, with 270 hotel rooms to boot. Mandala Holdings is the local developer behind the project, and intend to build it near the Resorts World Miami site in the Arts and Entertainment District of downtown.
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Miami’s flyaway cranes could damage high-rises during Irma

While Houston and other parts of Texas grapple with the fallout from Hurricane Harvey, another storm, Irma, has shaped up to be the third most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, with Category 5 winds measuring up to 185 miles per hour as of Wednesday evening.

Having watched Irma pummel through the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, the City of Miami—which has long known of its innate susceptibility to flooding and erosion—prepares itself for what may well be an incredibly devastating blow this weekend.

One of the more urgent concerns raised by the city is the damage that could be wrought by 20 to 25 construction cranes scattered throughout the city, which can withstand winds only up to 145 miles per hour and take two weeks to properly disassemble. Since the storm's potential path was only projected last Friday, there will not be enough time to take down the equipment.
The City of Miami issued a formal evacuation warning on Tuesday afternoon via Twitter to residents (and occupants of high-rises in particular) about the threats posed by unmoored cranes and projectiles. In a sober follow-up tweet, the city reinforced its message: Late yesterday, Miami-Dade County issued a mandatory evacuation order for its coastal cities, including Miami Beach, and the city is continuing its preparation efforts by clearing the downtown harbor, closing public parks, and supplying sandbags for flood protection efforts. For those living in affected areas, the Florida State Emergency Response Team has activated an Emergency Information Line at 1-800-342-3557.
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Philippe Starck designs a surreal nautical interior for Miami’s Bazaar Mar

While seafood might be de rigueur in the culinary scene of Miami, few local restaurants can lay claim to the unique, boldly crafted environment found at Bazaar Mar, the newest eatery in the SLS Brickell tower. The ambitious interior design by Philippe Starck and innovative cuisine by chef José Andrés marks the team’s fourth collaboration under the Bazaar name, an offering from hospitality developer SLS Hotels. The company, which owns similar real estate ventures in Beverly Hills, South Beach, and Las Vegas, recently completed the SLS Brickell, one of many new high-rises sprouting up downtown and in the Brickell neighborhood.

SLS enlisted the distinctive architectural skills of Miami-headquartered Arquitectonica to design the tower, which also houses over 450 condominiums and a 132-key hotel. Towers like SLS Brickell are changing the Miami skyline while also creating a rich landscape for projects like Bazaar Mar to serve the burgeoning resident and tourist populations.

When it comes to the food, however, SLS entrusted Spanish-born Andrés—a James Beard Award winner and pioneer of molecular gastronomy—to be the charismatic public face of Bazaar Mar. His vision for the menu is an attractive mix of disparate textures, aromas, and aesthetics. This spirit of inventiveness translates seamlessly into Starck’s scheme for the interior design, which equals Andrés penchant for theatrics and hyperbole. Starck crafted a nautical fantasy complete with mythical sea beasts, picturesque coastal vignettes, and a distinctive white-and-navy color palette.

The 7,200-square-foot Bazaar Mar is composed of two dining rooms and a raw bar materially connected by more than 6,000 hand-painted tiles featuring the drawings of artist Sergio Mora and manufactured in Spain by Cerámica Artística San Ginés. The azulejo tilework, painted in a Delft Blue pastiche typical of 16th-century Dutch pottery, completely covers the walls and ceiling. The murals are ornamented with gilded crustaceans and cabaret-style mermaids that dissolve otherwise-solid walls into surrealist other worlds. Likenesses of people involved in the project, including Chef Andrés, appear throughout the murals. The furnishings include smooth marble-topped tables, upholstered love seats, and stark white wooden chairs, creating an evocative atmosphere from which the maritime narrative emerges.

The bright dining room contrasts with a offset cocktail bar finished in black and gold tiles of the same stylized motif. The total effect of Starck’s design reflects both its seaside locale and the rapidly evolving Miami art and architecture scene.

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David Beckham’s soccer stadium could be derailed by lawsuit

David Beckham’s planned Major League Stadium in Miami is facing hurdle after hurdle—first, there was the struggle to find a stadium site, resulting in a three-year long search before finally settling on a location in the Overtown neighborhood. Now, a wealthy landowner is filing a lawsuit to block the county’s no-bid deal to sell land for the stadium, as first reported by the Miami Herald.

Landowner and activist Bruce Matheson, who owns property near the stadium site, filed a suit last week against Miami-Dade County over the $9 million land sale to Miami Beckham United. Matheson claims that the land deal broke state law, as the deal was no-bid when Florida law demands that state land sales should go to “the highest and best bidder,” according to the Herald. Matheson also said that he would buy the three acres of land himself, adding that the county was underselling the property’s value.

A long-time supporter of the stadium, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had previously avoided the state law by using an economic-development law that requires certain hiring requirement and community benefits to sell the land.

This is not the first time Matheson has blocked a major sports site. He previously prevented the expansion of a tennis stadium in Key Biscayne.

“It’s apparent that Mr. Matheson hates professional sports,” Michael Hernández, Gimenez’s communications director, said to the Herald. “He’s doing his best to drive out the Miami Open from Key Biscayne, and now he hopes to block Major League Soccer from coming to Miami.”

Beckham is still waiting for league approval, as well as a commitment from his investors to stay with the behind-schedule project. The proposed sale was approved in June, but the Beckham group has not yet put a down payment on the land. The deadline is mid-September to make the $500,000 payment, otherwise, the land will be lost and the search starts all over again.