Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

The Beauty of Parking: Herzog & de Meuron Luxury Garage in Miami

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
View the full article of The Beauty of Parking: Herzog & de Meuron Luxury Garage in Miami as published in Bauwelt no. 21, or read the transcript below:

“1111 Lincoln Road is part of an addition and upgrade to the existing SunTrust office building, which is a Brutalist concrete relic designed by Adolfo Albaisa that was constructed in the 1960s. At first glance, 1111 Lincoln Road looks like a new museum or a swanky new condo building just beginning construction, but in reality the structure is nearly complete. 1111 Lincoln Road is more than a parking garage, it is a building that serves as a continuation of the street with parking, retail, restaurants, event space and residential components scattered throughout the structure. The site sits along South Beach’s popular Lincoln Mall, which is a pedestrian friendly avenue for shopping, food, drink, entertainment, and now parking. It is a project that has been published and written about extensively over the past few years, but until now, the focus of renderings, photographs and critical discussion has been on the figure and form of the building rather than its context. This is because the renderings released by Herzog & de Meuron during the project’s development fail to show the parking garage in its true context, and concentrate on the unique form of the structure. As the structure nears completion, stylized photographs by Iwan Baan that depict the building as a piece of sculpture devoid of context, have begun to be published in various media outlets. 1111 Lincoln Road ignores its historic context, yet it relates contextually at other levels, even creating context, it is a building that must be experienced in order to understand why it is so special.

Architectural Context:

When talking about architecture, architects often speak of the success of an architectural design in terms of context. Unfortunately, many architects forget that there is more to a structure’s context than its relationship to adjacent buildings and the site. Herzog & de Meuron understand context to be social, cultural, and architectural. They are even concerned with how their parking garage relates within the experiential context of the ceremony of driving, parking and emerging as a pedestrian onto Lincoln Mall from the automobile. They recognize these various contexts in the design of the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage, a project with so many complex contextual relationships that they only become clear upon visiting the structure and spending enough time looking and experiencing.

When designing structures within a historic context it is best to either match the historic style of the architecture as close as possible, or to design a structure that is of “the spirit of the times” (zeitgeist). Upon visiting the 1111 Lincoln Road development, it became clear that the design of the parking structure is foreign in style and form to the surrounding collection of 800 structures located in South Beach’s Art Deco Historic District. There is nothing formally contextual about the 1111 Lincoln Road parking structure. It stands by itself, as if it is better than its architectural neighbors. It has an attitude, a demeanor that suggest it does not care what you think of it, because it knows it is better than all of the other buildings that you have ever parked in. Herzog & de Meuron avoid the pitfalls that have plagued other architects, by understanding that architecture has to be sensitive to its context, but does not have to look like it. The 1111 Lincoln Road parking structure contrasts with its architectural context in nearly every way imaginable.

The sharp angles of the concrete structure contrast with the streamlined forms of the expensive parked automobiles and neighboring Art Deco structures. The historic forms of South Beach are solid masses that have been carved away, while the parking structure is a delicate exoskeleton, allowing light and air to penetrate deep into its core. While the neighboring Art Deco structures are concerned with surface, Herzog & de Meuron create a structure that is composed of line and edge. The poured in place concrete forms are left raw and exposed to the elements, in contrast to the brightly painted buildings found on every block.

The parking structure of 1111 Lincoln Road is part of a complex of three buildings: Apart from the existing SunTrust office building there is a two-story building designed by Herzog & de Meuron, with a SunTrust Bank branch on the ground floor and four large condos on the second floor. The two-story building has no visual relationship to the parking garage. The solid white box blends in with the existing context, so as not to weaken the image of the parking garage. The modern SunTrust office building is a poured in place concrete structure, but it is painted white in an effort to differentiate old from new. The parking structure ignores these buildings architecturally, and pulls away from them. The floor plates of the parking garage rarely respond to the floor plates of the existing office building. The stairways that connect the two structures are delicate interventions out of necessity, and recede into the shadows of the two structures. The existing SunTrust office building was upgraded to contain additional retail space at the ground level that matches the retail at the base of the parking structure, but a conscious move was made by the architects to use color and a construction joint to differentiate the portion of the concrete canopy that belong to the old and the new.

Herzog & de Meuron take a stand in the design of their parking structure, clearly delineating new from old, denouncing Miami Moderne in favor of an architecture that is responsive to the social, cultural, and experiential context of our time.

Master Curator:

Visionary developer Robert Wennett, who sees himself more as a master curator than a developer, envisioned 1111 Lincoln Road as a structure that would be a destination for art, commerce and culture, he imagined a building that patrons would experience while driving, shopping, living and being entertained. He visited with ten architecture firms from around the world sharing his vision, but it was not until he met with Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron that he knew he had found his architect. After commissioning Herzog & de Meuron to design the structure, the three would work intimately on the project for the next five years. Wennett did not stop with commissioning a world renowned architect to design a building, like any distinguished curator, he realized that an exhibition cannot rely on a single work of art. The building includes signage by Wolf-Olins, an iron rods art installation under the stairs on Level 2 by Monika Sosnowska, as well as featuring retail spaces such as a Taschen bookstore, a Y3/Adidas boutique, and a Nespresso outlet, which all function as miniature galleries for commerce. The details of the building, which are the result of the joint technical efforts of Herzog & de Meuron and local architect of record Charles H Benson & Associates, Architects, PA become works of art that even cause non-architects to pause and admire. Wennett allows his exhibition of design and art to spill out into the plaza in front of 1111 Lincoln Road, the design of which is the result of a collaborative effort by Herzog & de Meuron and Raymond Jungles, a Miami based landscape architect, which features interactive public art by New York artist Dan Graham.

Experiential Context:

On entering the parking garage it becomes clear that everything about the structure is designed to enhance the experience of parking. While driving through the structure, every turn captures a different view of the city; every ramp aligns your vehicle toward a seemingly framed piece of the Florida sky. The shape of the structural columns enhances the views of the city, pulling the eyes outward. The connection of the viewer to the city is reinforced by the architecture. After a few moments you will find yourself forgetting to scan for a parking spot, and instead exploring the city, awaiting new views that are revealed while driving through the structure. The structure responds to the city and its context in a way that differs from other structures in the city. It forces drivers to interact with the city in a way that is unique to 1111 Lincoln Road. It is this exploitation of the ceremonial experience of parking that makes it unlike any other parking structure.

After parking your automobile, the structure will urge you to pause and look out at the city. While waiting on the elevator, the sculptural stair tempts you to explore upper and lower levels; it tempts you to explore the city. Typically parking garages are repetitive vertically, featuring a consistent vertical ten foot rhythm. Herzog & de Meuron have the luxury of exploiting the verticality of the parking structure which creates a different experience at each level. It is a garage with a view and light.

Social & Cultural Context:

Herzog & de Meuron have managed to create an architectural form instilled with the spirit of Miami’s South Beach. The automobile is an undeniable symbol of status and wealth in America. The display of one’s prosperity is the whole reason Miami and the Art Deco style exists. Miami during the 1020’s in its boom could be equated to the Dubai of today. What car do you drive? How much money do you make? What designer labels are on your clothes? This is the culture of Miami and these are the things that matter. The Art Deco style in Miami was the result of the wealthy searching for a means for displaying their wealth in the homes they lived in. Herzog & de Meuron understand this, and create a structure which is as much a monument to the automobile as it is a billboard for displaying wealth. The garage is a stage for the celebutantes of South Beach to display their wealth and gain the attention of tourists that visit the mall. The structure is undeniably South Beach.

All Muscle . . . almost

Jacques Herzog describes the 1111 Lincoln Road parking structure as “All muscle without cloth”. Spending any amount of time in Miami will validate the accuracy of this statement as a description of South Beach and its culture. Skin is an acceptable form of expression in South Beach, but the problem is that the statement by Jacques Herzog is not an entirely accurate description of the structure. From the stylized photos that have been published in various magazines the structure appears to be ALL muscle, but once at the site, 1111 Lincoln Road is revealed to be a body builder in a tutu. The beauty of the parking garage is its structure, which seems to bulge and flex in all the right places, at times responding to structural forces, and at other times responding to other forces such as emphasizing views of the city from within, and even enhancing the movement of the automobile itself. The muscles are great, but unfortunately the tutu is not. The metaphorical ‘tutu’ of the structure is the retail space at the ground level. The angled columns of the parking garage abruptly stop at the second level of the building. The ground level lacks the sculptural spirit of the rest of the building. The structure would be more convincingly complete if the angular columns were permitted to continue down to the ground, creating retail spaces that engage the structural forms in a similar manner that the restaurants and penthouse units are treated. Instead, the muscular structure sits atop a glass box, and the iconic angular columns have been substituted for conventional circular columns and a continuous storefront system of glass and metal. A disconnect between the structure above and the retail at the ground level is the result of a compromise between the architecture and visibility requirements demanded by the stores leasing the retail space. The structure can be viewed in its purest state when looking at the building from the north, as the angled concrete columns are allowed to continue down the back of the structure down to the ground.

When inside the parking garage, visitors are tempted to explore the garage vertically; they are inveigled by the seductive qualities of the sculptural stair and the framed views of the city. The garage does very little to engage the public at the street level, one would expect that Herzog & de Meuron would have designed the base of the structure to provoke users to explore the parking garage in the same way that they are encouraged to explore the parking garage while in it, but this is not the case. The pedestrian entrance to the garage and the sculptural stair are recessed in the shadows of the building at the ground level, discouraging entry into the structure. The ground level does not possess the same quality of lightness and transparency as the parking garage that sits atop it. This connection between the base of the structure and the parking garage is the one flaw of 1111 Lincoln Road. If the storefront had been broken, and the muscles of the parking garage been allowed to flex into the plaza, the building, plaza, and overall experience would have been better for it, inching that much closer to completely realizing the designer’s concept.

The above article was featured as the cover story in Bauwelt no 21.10 and in the Summer issue of Florida/Caribbean Architect Magazine. I would like to thank Charles H Benson and Robert Wennett for taking the time out of their busy schedules to answer my questions about the project, and for providing their valuable insights into the process involved in producing 1111 Lincoln Road. I would also like to thank Bauwelt for taking a chance on an unknown blogger, and Florida/Caribbean Architect for publishing this article.”

Urban Assemblage

Friday, October 17th, 2008
View PDF of Urban Assemblage as published in florida/caribbean Architect, or read the transcript below:

“In 2007, a design competition was held for emerging professionals that proposed a light rail station in the Sarasota area. The entrants developed plans and three winners were selected. Those winners were invited to attend a training session about light rail facilities and then resubmit their entries.”

“James Cornetet’s design for the light rail station platform is a structure made of poured-in-place concrete and steel frame construction. The project uses extensive green roofing and green wall technology systems. No mechanical systems are necessary as the entire structure is open-air.”

“The jury was impressed with the development of the project from the first stage to the second. The proposal clearly responds to many of the issues raised in the stage one discussion at the conference. The project intensified the role of structure as a spatial organizational device and further integrated the structure into the landscape. The project goes beyond simply sighting a rail station and provides a series of interior and exterior spaces informed by the context and movement of the site”

Using Animation for Form-Making

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
View PDF ofUsing Animation for Form-Making as published in in•form•Z, or read the transcript below:

“Studio J is research collaborative that examines the use of experimental geometries in architecture. It is currently working on a variety of architectural competitions and was just awarded a commission to design a seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. Submission to the evolo skyscraper competition: The design of this skyscraper was created using ONLY the animation features in form•Z 6.0.”

“This project is featured in a book I am currently writing that investigates the strengths of the new animation features in form•Z 6.0. The book is comprised of a dozen or so mini tutorials and a section that outlines the processes used to create the form for the skyscraper, from start to finish. The focus of the book is strictly how animation may be used in architectural form-making.”

Interstitial Space

Friday, February 17th, 2006
View PDF of Interstitial Space as published in form•Z Joint Study Program Report, or read the transcript below:

“The Interstitial House is a project which seeks to examine the relationship between public and private spaces within a house. The design began with two cylinders which were representing, at a diagrammatic level, the public and private spaces. The cylinders were manipulated and studied through a series of physical models in clay and form•Z that examined the relationships of the two cylinders as they were manipulated and modified.”

“It was discovered that the two cylinders, when intersected, generated an interstitial space. This intersection of the two cylinders created public-private and private-public spaces. This discovery lead to the revelation that, rather than having absolute private and absolute public spaces, a gradation between public and private spaces could be developed that seeks to push the limits of what activities society considers private and public in a house. Walls do not exist in this project in the traditional sense. Walls or partitions between spaces are created by the undulation of the cylinders, variation in heights, and floor elevations of the interior spaces. Every “room” is linked in a continuous volume by a continuous surface but maintains its own distinct place.”

“The private spaces are noted by cooler colors, while the public spaces are marked by warmer colors. The tension that exists between the public and private spaces of the house were exploited even further by defining the private spaces with transparent and translucent materials as opposed to traditional methods of making the private spaces opaque. The private space is more docile and relaxed in shape as if lying on the ground, while the public space is active and alive, entangled around the more private space suggesting that the private and public space mix. The public cylinder is mostly opaque and the only openings on the surface are the gills, which complement each other. The gills are placed to emphasize the entrance to the house and allow for guests to view into the house and residents to gaze out onto the street. The other set of gills track the path of the sun to let light into the spaces according to the time in the day when these spaces might be used. The glass structure that envelops the private spaces is designed to work with the three mechanical fins and sliding partitions. The sliding fabric partitions give the resident privacy, but also allow a silhouette to be seen from the exterior.”

“The cylinders seem as if they have emerged from the earth. The clumsy shapes were sculpted in form•Z through the simple pushing and pulling of vertices until the shapes sufficiently responded to programmatic needs and aesthetic desires. The shape itself that started out as a smooth nurbz surface was examined two dimensionally at sections spaced every five feet. This was done repeatedly to make sure that the two cylinders would meet seamlessly at their intersections and to insure that all of the sections worked together. The module was necessary in the transformation of the surface from a smooth surface to a facetted surface. form•Z’s powerful nurbz tools allowed the geometry to continuously be stripped down to two-dimensional curves and reconstructed with ease; a process that is more complicated and time consuming in other nurbs modelers.”


Thursday, February 17th, 2005
View PDF of Fabrication as published in form•Z Joint Study Program Report, or read the transcript below:

“Summary description of project:
The fourth year studio is a capstone, senior level architectural design studio spanning two academic quarters. The studio is “comprehensive” in that students are expected to bridge the chasm between the ephemeral nature of poetic design and the mundane reality of construction. They are responsible for incorporating structural, mechanical and construction realities into their designs not as something to add once the design is complete but, rather, as a source of stimulation throughout the design process. To test their ideas students are expected to construct large-scale physical models of their design, showing details such as mullions and connections.”

“Reasons for the nomination:
This project is an intense exploration of physical form inspired by the freedom of modeling in the digital realm. What separated this project from others is the use of our five axis mill to generate physical studies of these forms in foam, which ultimately provided the formwork for the construction of a large-scale model. As a result, this project was able to retain the incredible fluid and poetic spatial characteristics of early studies while incorporating the physical realities of construction, materials, structure and mechanical systems.”

Jury Comments:

“This was a terrific design, nicely modeled and beautifully rendered. The organic forms of the structure made it very appropriate for a fabrication project. It gave strong evidence to the fact that an architect’s imagination need no longer be constrained to rectilinear forms when tools like form•Z exist that can not only allow free forms to be envisioned and modeled but also physically constructed.” – Lachmi Khemlani

“Of all the entries in this category, this one best depicted both the modeling and the fabrication stages of the project. There’s often an unbridgeable gap between the complex, fluid designs created in 3D modeling software and the practical demands of actually building them. The student showed commendable resourcefulness in milling the roof, with its complex surfaces, in foam to build a large-scale physical prototype.” – Sara Ferris

Form•Z Joint Study Program 2004 Award Winners

Thursday, February 17th, 2005
View PDF of Form•Z Joint Study Program 2004 Award Winners as published in in•form•Z, or read the transcript below:

“This past year auto•des•sys granted Awards of Distinction for the Joint Study Program in seven categories: Architectural Design, Interior Design, Fabrication, Product and Industrial Design, Visualization/Illustration, High Schools, and Animation. The awarded students received a license of form•Z RadioZity. Honorable mentions were also granted at the Acadia Annual Conference in October 2004.”

“The winners were selected by a jury of five design experts from academia and the professions:
• Sara Ferris, Editor-in-Chief, Cadalyst, Eugene, Oregon
• Lachmi Khemlani, Chief, AECbytes, Fremont, California
• Christopher D. Lund, Industrial Artist, Lafayette, Colorado
• Thomas Seebohm, Professor, University of Waterloo, Cambridge, Ontario
• Pierluigi Serraino, Architect, Berkeley, California”