Currently viewing the tag: "Architecture"


Date:  Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Location:  Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL


Architecture critic, writer, and curator, ROWAN MOORE addresses how buildings are not fixed objects but exist in time, connecting the thoughts and actions of the people who make them to those of the people who inhabit them. All architects, said Philip Johnson, want to be immortal. Look through standard architectural histories, and you’ll see pyramids, temples, tombs and churches -–buildings dedicated to eternity. Yet architecture is always in a state of change. It weathers, ages, decays, and is renewed. It is adapted and extended; how it is perceived is altered, such that the monstrosities of one generation become the cherished heritage of the next. Rowan Moore describes works that are smart in their use of time, from the High Line in New York to the work of the great Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. We talk of “buildings”, he says, because they are part of a continuous process – we don’t call them “builts”. Rowan Moore is architecture critic for the Observer (London), and author of Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture (2013). Free.

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Blarke Ingels will  hold a lecture on the architectural works of BIG in Miami Beach that is free and open to the public — space is limited so please RSVP to email:

March 26, 2013 @ 6:30pm (doors open at 5:30pm)

Colony Theater

1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach


Bjarke Ingles founded BIG to develop designs that are programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious. Recently named one of the lead designers for the Smithsonian Masterplan, Bjarke was also named Wall Street Journal’s Innovator of the Year. He is among Fast Company’s Topo 100 Most Creative People in Design and has received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, as well as two National AIA Awards. In addition to overseeing his New York-based practice, he has taught at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Rice Universities. Bjarke is an honorary professor at the Royal Columbia and Rice Universities and is an honorary professor at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. He is a frequent public speaker at venues such as TED, WIRED, Google’s Zeitgeist, and the World Economic Forum.

Architects are such babies. Take Frank Gehry, the overrated star-architect of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. The Herald  reports that he is very upset about how ‘rude’ the city leaders have been because they don’t want to pay his inflated fee.

To Gehry, the real issue is not his $1.9 million fee, which he said is appropriate for the project’s scope — it’s the city’s $10 million construction budget for the public park, which he said is too small given Miami Beach’s and the symphony’s elaborate goals for the space.

Hmmm…..$1.9 million for a $10 million dollar project….sounds like a 19% architectural fee. I wonder what other services Mr. Gehry will be performing for almost 20%? Sounds like the real issue isn’t the budget, but the fact that Gehry wants a larger fee. Then there is this:

Instead of hiring another architect for the park, Gehry suggested having the parks department install grass, landscaping, sprinklers, and drainage, and talk to the symphony about its ideas for the space. Then he will review it.

“We won’t charge a dime. We’ll do it as a friend to the city. Pay us zero.”

Sounds good to me. Why waste tons of money on expensive lights and fountains - park space doesn’t need to be that complicated.  If the urbanism around the park works then there should not be a need to fill the park with silly things to activate it. The city can improve the park over time, and not waste so much money on architects who say things like:

Doing a parking garage in Miami is not something I should be spending time on. I did it out of respect for [Tilson Thomas].

Dude, we don’t need you to do us any favors. Thanks.

At approximately 8:35 tonight ground will officially break initiating the construction of the New World Symphony’s new concert hall on Miami Beach designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.

The 107,000-square-foot ”campus” is Gehry’s first Florida building. And though its simple, rectilinear design doesn’t offer the daring of the titanium-roofed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, or the audacious sail-like curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the yet-to-be-named facility will solve logistical problems faced by the New World Symphony in its two decades on Lincoln Road.

The Lincoln Theatre ”has acoustical deficiencies and technological limitations,” said Howard Herring, New World president and CEO. The new building, he said, will allow significant expansion and outreach “in how we train our fellows and how we bring music to the public.”

To be completed in 2010, the new building will house a 700-seat, state-of-the-art performance space with capacity for recording and webcasts and 360-degree projections. There will be a rooftop music library and conductor’s studio, 26 individual rehearsal rooms and six ensemble rehearsal rooms. Expanded Internet2 technology will allow greater international partnership and interaction with musicians, composers and learning institutions around the world. Of the $200 million cost, $150 million will pay for construction. The rest will go to the orchestra’s endowment. Its interest will cover the increased cost of operating the facility and expanding programs, Herring said.

Images Via: PlaybillArts

The Fontainebleau Miami is rising. I am not talking about the reinvention of the famous Miami Beach hotel, but rather the sudden emergence of a palatial 14-acre estate on the southwestern fringes of Miami-Dade County. After a brief Miami-Dade property search, it turns out that the home belongs to one of the area’s top skyscraper designers; Charles Sieger, designer of the urban 50 Biscayne, ultra luxurious Apogee condominium in SOBE, and revolutionary Portofino tower, among other projects. It is a paradox to see one of the area’s top condominium designers, a proponent for urban life I would assume, build a sprawling mansion on land situated outside of the urban development boundary.

The house itself is set back quite a distance from the street. I drove by recently catching this glimpse, perplexed that a house in this area could be built with such a short setback. I turned around and drove by again, realizing that this was only a “guardhouse” of sorts and that the “real” mansion lay somewhere behind a few acres of well manicured gardens, obelisks, and fountains. This area is no stranger to oversized palaces as we noted back in April in a post, which incidentally featured a picture of the entrance to this estate.

I assume the home is modeled after the famous Fontainebleau in Fontainebleau, France, the same location where Charles Sieger studied in 1968 at the Ecoles D’Art Americaines according to his resume.

The new Freitag flagship store in Zurich’s western developing area, made of seventeen used freight containers stacked together.

This intriguing new structure by Thom Mayne/Morphosis can help to clear up any misgivings about great architecture and limited budgets. The San Francisco Federal building is an 18 story building and was brought in under budget at 144 million dollars, about $249 / square foot. This very reasonable price for such a major structure shows that with careful planning and innovative conscious designers anything is possible.

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In the name of challenging our understanding of global visual cues, can anybody identify this museum? It should be noted that there is little parking anywhere nearby and the building was built within a very reasonable budget. Interesting design does not require a great deal of money, just great designers and there are many who work for reasonable compensation. Many who need and deserve the opportunity to do so, as well. The main volume seems to levitate over the glass enclosed first floor. Nearly the entire main volume is sheathed in very inexpensive (with very little weight) translucent ‘cow wall’. Requirements to light the building are diminished greatly with the entire building being translucent. I realize this material is probably not suitable for hurricanes, but there are always creative solutions.

Renderings of the new Kobi Karp designed towers soon rising at the Miami Airport Marriott Complex:

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It seems that once again, the debate on whether or not to restore or destroy the Marine Stadium at Virginia Key, is alive and well. As a big supporter of architectural preservation, it seems to me that the answer is clear. The building is so profoundly unique, all lovers of modernism would insist on it’s restoration. The mind boggling structure, visually defies the laws of physics with its incredible cantilevered roof. While many other such buildings met with the wrecking ball shortly before the resurgence of interest in mid century modern, this outdoor public venue, due in part to its non-central location, has remained in disrepair. It seems to me that if a proper restoration could be executed, this unique setting would be a big draw for a number of varied performances.

With so many amazing 20th century masterpieces, Miami is once again an example of a particular originality not found anywhere else in the U.S. This collection of buildings should be preserved at all costs. There is an active community striving to see to this. The recent declaration of Miami Modern, or MiMo historic districts, both along Biscayne Boulevard in Miami and in North Beach, in the city of Miami Beach, brought a collective sigh of relief..

There are however many worthy historical buildings that do not fall within any of these historic districts. Bay Harbor Islands is home to an extensive collection of such jewels, and it seems as if the city officals will not declare them protected, despite the vocal preservationists doing their best. By virtue of its massive scale and futurist beauty the Marine Stadium of Virginia Key is arguably the most significant of all these buildings. I will continue to keep all who are interested, informed as to how they can contribute to the struggle to honor South Florida’s architectural heritage.

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Building height isn’t everything. A recent comment reiterated the importance of that statement in my mind today. Sometimes skyline and skyscraper enthusiasts (developers too, but their motivations are fueled by ego and profit) become so fixated on heights of buildings that they seem to forget about some of the finer qualities of the buildings we should want to have rising in our city. Forget thousand footers, we need quality designs, street level interaction (sidewalks, public spaces, foliage, shops, transit connectivity, etc.,) and most importantly no parking pedestals (which interestingly enough is contingent on the previous two…)For example, the Alhambra Towers, pictured above, is the latest recipient of the “City Beautiful Award.” I can guarantee that it wasn’t the Alhambra Towers’ status as the tallest building in Coral Gables which garnered the praise, but rather its ingenious, unique design. The Alhambra Tower is dominant, purposeful, and iconic, all without becoming too imposing on the neighboring structures or the pedestrians below. It compliments the surroundings and creates a sense of semblance at the awkward five-point intersection created by Alhambra Circle, Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Alhambra Plaza. The structure falls in line with George Merrick’s original intentions for the Coral Gables business district, tastefully resembling his first major structure, the Biltmore Hotel, which was itself inspired by the Sevilla Tower. Alhambra Tower was built by the Allen Morris Company and designed by ACI Architects of Winter Park, Fl. The front tower was built to resemble the Giralda Tower in Sevilla, Spain, pictured below. To read more, click here

One Bayfront Plaza is poised to become Miami’s first super tall (1000′) and truly iconic skyscraper. With the recent approval by the City Commission, the 2 million square foot office development is ready to proceed through the initial stage of pre-construction. The $1.8 Billion project will feature 2 million square feet of leasable office space, 120,000 square feet of exhibition or banquet space, 112,000 square feet of retail, and a 850 room hotel. The project is slated to break ground in 2011 and has attained preliminary approval to rise to 1,049 feet (roof) and 1,180 feet to the top of the spire…
One Bayfront Plaza is being developed by Florida East Coast Realty (Tibor Hollo) and was designed by Terra Group Architects. Frankly, I’m impressed by the eastern facade of the structure but dismally disappointed by the initial designs of the west side, pictured above. The two structures appear to be disjointed and fail to compliment each other accordingly. Hopefully, the west tower will be subject to further redesigns to make this a visually appealing structure from all angles, not just the east…

It has been announced, to the excitement of many, that the new design for Miami Art Museum will be announced during ART BASEL 07. This couldn’t be more appropriate considering that the architects hometown is in fact Basel Switzerland.
I thought it would be a good time to consider just what we might be in for. Here are several images of recent projects by the duo of Pritzker Prize winning architects.Whether it be residential interiors in NYC, or a stadium in Germany one confounding truth is that their work is so varied and site specific, it is almost impossible to even attempt to forecast any design model for Miami.For those eagerly awaiting the unveiling, I hope this little taste helps.


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The picture above, taken from the balcony of the Murano on Miami Beach, was forwarded to me by James,’s newest author. He’ll be covering the architectural and urban design aspects of the buildings rising in Miami.

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Our sidebars have changed over the past few weeks, some dead sites were removed from the Miami/Transportation blog rolls and a whole bunch more were added…

At the forefront of Miami’s residential development boom, stand the designs of the local, ambitious architect Chad Oppenheim. The young Cornell Graduate, only 34, has made a splash in the architecture scene with his innovative modern designs and latest plans for energy efficient buildings. The soon to be completed Ten Museum Park is his first major contribution to the Miami skyline. Of all the buildings rising along the “Miami wall” (Biscayne Boulevard Condos,) Ten Museum Park will have the greatest effect on the skyline despite being the shortest of the five towers rising. I found the following pictures on an online forum I frequently visit, they were originally posted by Edrag Tnava and provide us with some exclusive first looks at the inside of one of our most innovative condominium towers thus far:


View of Biscayne Boulevard beautification project:

Interesting Windows minimize the impact of the neighboring towers currently rising:

The Loft:

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