Herzog & de Meuron’s 11111 project recently opened on the west end of the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall. It’s a shocking structure — large, raw, and unfinished looking (there is some ongoing construction on the top levels, but the basic appearance is as it will be). The architects were able to pull variances, convincing government officials that the size of the building was determined by aesthetic reasons, but an effort to maximize capacity. And indeed, several of the levels are soaringly high, while others have the cramped height of a standard parking garage.
The building is “mixed use,” though the majority of it is open and designated for parking (currently $15 flat rate, and well utilized). The “its a garage” mindset may explain how this project was sold to planners and citizens, since there is precedent on South Beach for unusual garages (and anyway there is a pretty universal agreement that parking garages should be ugly). But I suspect that many residents are horrified by it, and this makes it all the more delicious.
The core of the building is a completely unconventional staircase, with every level blending into the next, attached with concrete stairs that jut in chaotic directions. Generally the details do not play up the under-construction thing, but do note the safety-mesh like steel wire on the railings (it is actually very high-quality braided wire).
Most of the retail is on the ground floor, with one solitary (and unfinished) location on the 5th floor. There is also some residential space on the top floors, but this is still under construction and probably off limits for good. The horizontal cables that make up the guard rails are set back a foot or two from the ledges, and they tend to disappear, creating spectacular vistas.
The lighting and other metal details are stridently mimimal, and most of the signage is painted onto the building in oversize Helvetica. The whole thing comes across as a monument against design-by-committee.
A view from the rose-colored windows of the movie theater across the mall. One of the best aspects of the project is Herzog & de Meuron’s transformation of the pedestrian area for a block or two around the project. They brough in black and white stone and created a slightly irregular surface, with landscaping inspired by the Everglades.
There is probably more going on with the planters then is immediately obvious, they are almost an exhibit recreating what’s happening 25 miles to the west.
I’m pretty sure they actually went out there and hand-picked the trees.
… replete with air plants. They are using some sort of cloth rope to hold them up while they root, not the standard 2×4 treatment.
The building is cleverly integrated into the bank structure next door, with a row of retail on one side, and crafty connections on several levels.
It’s difficult to convey how much the structure dominates the road. It certainly looms over the pretty movie theater, but in a way that I found pretty complimentary.
Here’s the view from the Publix parking garage, about a third of a mile away.
One more look inside at those angular staircases. Here on the second level there’s also a sculpture of angular metal, suggesting that all the supporting rebar in the building is like this.
I don’t know how the residents feel, but the people walking around and inside the garage seemed pretty engaged and impressed. People admired the pedestrian details, and there was some walking around and photographing inside the structure.
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