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A story in The Atlantic about Airbnb, a service that lets you turn your apartment into a mini-hotel. I used the service on a recent trip to New York, and found an awesome little apartment in Brooklyn for a kind of amazing price.
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.
The economic downslump is taking the predictable bite out of real estate development here on South Beach and throughout Dade County. But the construction of a few notable buildings proceeds, and it’s encouraging.
Herzog and de Meuron’s parking/retail structure at the west end of Lincoln Road Mall. There are a few more levels yet to be added to this, but the spaces between the columns you see are not going to be enclosed. The finished product will look like this. (Only white cars will ever park there.) These are the same folks who may one day yet create the new Miami Art Museum building.
And this is the Frank Gehry building for the New World Symphony, being constructed near the other end of the mall, behind the symphony’s current theater. This is the Western elevation, though you can see the blocky internal shapes that will be visible from the outside. The open space in the front of the image presumably will house another parking garage.
The Southeast facing corner, which roughly corresponds to this rendering (use the boatlike shape at the top to match them up. And yes, the road in the rendering is currently the alleyway running behind Lincoln shops).
Some of the last-sucker-in residential developments around Florida are returning to nature, maybe sort of like in the new show Life After People. Take the Turnpike south towards Homestead and it is just stunning, the rows upon rows of empty finished and unfinished developments.
A slideshow of the opening of the new Frost Art Museum at FIU. Hard to judge the size from the photos, but looks impressive enough. “The only free art museum in South Florida.”
I tagged along with a friend who was apartment hunting in Midtown, Edgewater, and Brickell this weekend, and I’ve got photos. You’ll see some weird effects of the building boom here, including construction cranes of projects still underway.
Like an abject rookie, I left my camera with all the crappy camera settings from a previous shoot. These photos were saved somewhat in Photoshop, but they have an odd quality, like snapshots from the ’80s found in a shoebox. Which may be appropriate in a way. I’ve got a song for you to listen to while looking at these (opens in a new window) at my Tumblr, if you like yours with a little multimedia.
The Long Now Foundation’s blog collects collections of underground spaces, both man made and natural. (They’re planning on putting their 10,000 year clock underground.)
To build something is to make a building. But architecture is everything that is about buildings. It’s the way we think about buildings, the way we talk about buildings, the way buildings are drawn and composed and designed. And that means that buildings are the most complete way in which architecture appears. But it also means that it’s very difficult to find architecture in buildings. Buildings are the tombs of architecture, the architecture is hiding in the walls, the floors, and the ceilings. We need architecture, because architecture can make us at home in the modern world, a world that is changing more and more quickly, and which more places look the same all the time.
— Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and curator of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale; watch the video at Monocle