Netherlands based West 8 has finally released their proposed design for Lincoln Park adjacent to the New World Symphony building by Frank Gehry.  More than a year after changing Frank Gehry as the park designer, West 8 has released an exciting design for the urban park in the heart of Miami Beach.

According to the architect’s website:

The Lincoln Park site is small — less than three acres in size. In European public space tradition, a site this small might be composed entirely of hard plaza surface, such as the 3.25-acre Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy.  Even in American park design, urban parks can have a substantial amount of paved surfaces. Union Square Park in San Francisco is almost the same size as Lincoln Park, and equally positioned in the heart of its city center. It’s a place of gathering and activity and a place of relaxation for residents and visitors. But while Union Square Park has some patches of lawns and small gardens, most of the surfaces are paved plaza.

Given this precedent for urban parks, a question emerged early in the design process for Lincoln Park: should this public space feel like more like a plaza or be “green,” like a park?  What is appropriate for this site, with its future use as a place of gathering, its openness to the intense sun, the availability of a pallet of tropical vegetation, its relationship to a stunning new piece of architecture, and its position within the activity of Miami Beach?

West 8 felt strongly that our mission is to deliver a green park, not a plaza. A park that feels intimate, shady, and soft.  A park that will support the world-class attraction provided by the projection wall on the New World Symphony Building.  A park that reflects the spirit and vitality of Miami Beach.  And a park that will support a multitude of day and night uses, either under the shade of the trees or a starlit sky.

Lincoln Park will also have the wonder of some totally unique features that are one of a kind.  First, there will be several pergolas that embrace the park edges, whose shape is inspired by the puffy cumulous clouds in this tropical climate. This will not only provide shade but will support the bright blooms of bougainvillea vines.  High quality artwork is equally important here, and the projection wall is an ideal “canvas” for video projection artists, an emerging and exciting discipline of art.  Both local and international artists could provide an ever-changing exhibit that would occur outside the walls of a traditional museum experience.

Lincoln Park will actually convey the illusion of a larger park than its small size actually is. This will be achieved by careful manipulation of the topography for a gentle undulation underfoot; by establishing “veils” of palm tree planting that conceal and reveal views; and by creating a mosaic of meandering pathways that lure you through all corners of the Park.

When realized, Lincoln Park will be a unified expression of recreation, pleasure and culture. Combined with the momentum of the New World Symphony’s uses and outstanding architecture, the campus will be a world class destination that marries music, design and experience.


Be sure to check out more images at the West 8 website.  We would love to know your opinion?  Does it standup to the original Frank Gehry design?

8 Responses to West 8 Releases Lincoln Park Plans

  1. Chris says:

    What types of palms are those? They look really cool but do they really grow like that (all the fronds are pointing down. It makes them look like umbrellas. They look exotic.

    As for the whole design… that’s it? There are some cool elements but I don’t see Bertoia chairs being a permanent fixture there. Benches anywhere? Or just the ledge for people to sit on?


  2. Andy says:

    The projection wall looks nice at night…but I would’ve liked some permanent public art displays in the park itself…statues, installations, etc. Maybe a small kids play area also. And yes, as mentioned above, a few more benches along the walkway. The cement ledges get too humid in the Fla weather. The vines look nice. At least there are flowers. What’s up with this trend of only using green shrubs and trees around S. Fla, and no flowers or other colors? Just because it is called green environment, that doesn’t mean only using the color green. Flowers are plants too. And it is SoBe, with its Art Deco, so more colors are OK…as long as there is no Romero Britto stuff….had about enough of that.


  3. Prem says:

    this is significantly more practical than gehry’s design, however i’m shocked at hot much pavement there is. Having used San Francisco’s Union Square as an example, it’s unfortunate he didn’t also look at San Francisco’s many non-plaza like parks.
    Union Square is in the heart of that city’s high commercial/business district. the park is surrounded by way more and taller buildings than this park in miami beach.
    all the pavement seems to me to discourage wanting to go on a picnic there, or play tag with my friends, or go for a jog.


  4. Gabrielle says:

    The design has been out for months: The build schedule is very aggressive with large incentives to the landscape contractor for getting done on time. The trees are Vecchia Palms and the custom steel pergola “baskets” will hold bougainvillea. The design was based on the designers first impressions of the site: the principal had never been here until they were awarded this commission and was welcomed to the site on a hot noon-time August day when the land was still a parking lot covered with cars. OUCH! The designer never got over the “heat” and created a tree-filled oasis with the landform edges forming the backless benches. Great stuff if the park was not a nighttime venue. Only 1,000 or so folks will be able to cram into the only clear and open space directly in front of the projection wall. Surrounded by the elevated “Ballet Bare” of a sound system backed by a large, elevated ½ semi truck sized projector. For the rest of the folks, I promise you it will be like being in Aunt Bessie’s crowded living room on Thanksgiving day: Skinny Uncle Stanley is always in front of the TV! So it will be at Lincoln Park: If you are not in the clearing your view will always, ALWAYS be blocked by a tree. In fact, you all should go see the building today for once the trees arrive, you will never see the building from the street again.

    All that being said, it gets worse. Only two, small public restrooms on the Lincoln Lane part of the site, and when I say two, it is not two buildings, but two self contained stainless steel French-style public loos. Two. Can you imagine the lines when any special event takes place? I did not even mention the lost possibility of merchants turning the faces of the businesses to the park: why would they when they will just face a line for the potty, which blocks the view of the building too! Finally, the fact that there is little public transit serving this site and the NWS is trying its hardest to move the bus stops that are near them off their corner; the publicly built plaza skirted the City’s public naming rights rules, (which usually require referendum), and that their parking requirement still has not been met makes me hard pressed to be so impressed. Finally, the City will be having a naming contest, after spending money on a consultant to recommend names, for Lincoln Park, other than Lincoln Park, which I believe it should be.

    Just to set more of the record straight, Mr. Gehry never designed the park. What was included in presentations to the City when the building was vetted were “concepts” I would be happy to share them. In his vision, tho, the Park was not covered in trees and you could see the building from everywhere. West 8 calls what they did a “veil” for the building. It will be more like a burka.

    Miami Beach needed a nighttime venue to balance the free beach. We needed a place for thousands to gather and be entertained nightly, before they made their way to Lincoln Road for dinner and shopping. We need an asset that would give back to the economy in many different ways, but mostly by being the premier outdoor entertainment and production venue. There is nothing like it in the world! But filling the park with trees so that it can be a cool picnic spot during the day was missing the point of what this building was designed to do: bring art outdoors at NIGHT. You will not be able to see the art, or the building through the trees. Just my humble opinion.


  5. Rima says:

    I like the fact that the park is covered with trees. There are not enough trees here to protect us from the glaring sun. I know many tree-less empty parks in South Florida, where no one wants to have a pic-nic in South Florida sun. We also have many tree-less streets. Just look at Biscayne Boulevard. With no tree cover, it is not pleasant to walk on the street during the day. That’s why our streets are so devoid of pedestrians (well, thats one of the reasons).

    Nice design, I look forward to seeing it implemented.


  6. Dave says:

    So the designer chose all non-native vegetation?


  7. Trees are great. says:

    Trees are great.

    Miami Beach needs more trees. I am sure people will get sufficent views of the video screens. In the daytime the trees will be wonderful.


  8. Tony Garcia says:

    I agree with Rima: a tree covered plaza sounds great, and will add to our much needed tree canopy. The real problem with the design, as Dave points out, is that the trees are non-native. What a mistake!!! It feels like the plaza was designed in a vaccum, but at least the trees will partially block the ugliness of the Ghery building. Thank god for small favors.


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