May 12, 2015

New Builds in Miami: Sou Fujimoto’s Palm Court, City View Garage, Faena House

In Miami, old neighborhoods are being reinvented and reinvigorated with new architecture by some of the biggest names in the world. And with this week’s debut of Maison & Objet Americas, which takes over the city from May 12 to 15, there’s no better time for a crash course on Miami’s best new builds. 

The Miami Design District, for years a sleepy area of design-oriented furniture showrooms and neighborhood restaurants, is being reinvented as an urban shopping district with high fashion and high architecture in mind. Among the new construction, mostly led by a joint venture between Dacra Development and LVMH, architect Sou Fujimoto, who is perhaps best known for his highly abstract Serpentine Pavilion, designed a recently-completed retail building meant to appear like a cascading waterfall, frozen in blue glass. Nearby, the also-recently-completed but not yet open City View Garage is one of those design-forward parking garages that seem to be proliferating down here. It has unique facades designed by Leong Leong Architecture and Iwamoto Scott. Both firms have created unique metal screens in which to sheath the structure, balanced by two huge specially-commissioned murals by artist John Baldessari.

Over in Miami Beach, developer Alan Faena is leading the resurgence of an area of art deco and midcentury beach hotels. In addition to the restoration of the Saxony Hotel, with creative direction by Baz Luhrmann, the Faena House is a luxury residential project next door designed by Foster + Partners that will open later this year. Across the street, Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture is working on the Faena Forum, a multipurpose art center, also set to be completed before the end of the year.

Down on the tip of South Beach, architect Rene Gonzalez’s Glass, a super luxury condo tower he designed for developer Terra Group, topped off late last year and will be completed this year. The design will be laden with ornate touches, such as textured, patterned, and fritted glass facades, and lighting systems in the foyers of the ten units which designed to look like nighttime starry skies.

Terra also commissioned young architectural It-boy Bjarke Ingels to design a pair of twisting towers in Coconut Grove that shift to provide maximum views of the area’s marina-heavy waterfront. Soon to top off, the project will be done later this year. Visually merging with a new park under construction across the street, the towers are set in lushly landscaped grounds designed by the aptly-named Raymond Jungles.

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