Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A fancy garage building in Miami, by Herzog and de Meuron

Excerpts from, by James S. Russell:
his $65 million bravura composition of intersecting planes and angular piers, called 1111 Lincoln Road, does indeed park 300 cars in its mostly wall-free structure. It includes fashion retailers and residences.
The different levels rhythmically jut forward and recede a bit. The floor heights range from the parking standard of about 7 feet to as high as 34 feet. The tall floors are best for parties.
The architectural allure and the view are why the garage is in demand for weddings and other fetes. Developer Robert Wennett, president of Urban Investment Advisors LLC, cooked up an idiosyncratic commercial formula: Architecturally spectacular parking structure attracts high-end retail, which helps sell a penthouse residence and attract events.
The Basel-based architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron designed 1111 Lincoln Road, which is the culmination of the busy pedestrian mall designed by Morris Lapidus.
You might mistake this skeletal concrete frame for yet another abandoned condo project. Inside, access ramps sinuously warp and curve as they rise within the squared-off planes of each level. A sculptured stair dances in counterpoint.
Standing improbably alone on the fifth floor, a glass jewel box of a store is a delight to encounter. Called Alchemist, it sets out the wares of sought-after designers like Rick Owens, Martin Margiela and Chrome Hearts as if they were precious artworks. It need not share street frontage with beach-wear boutiques, because it is a destination for aficionados. With only parked cars for company, the cognitive dissonance of its location telegraphs chic.
Wennett is finishing an all-glass rooftop restaurant and building a penthouse residence.
By any conventional real-estate formula, neither the building form nor the odd revenue-producing combination makes any sense. It’s hard to see where the architectural concept ends and Wennett’s commercial savvy begins.
“Herzog and de Meuron took this on because they knew I was interested in what they could do,” said Wennett while giving me a tour, “not in how their brand could sell.”
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