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Miami Design: The Starchitect Revolution

For years, Miami design was synonymous with the colours – and kitsch – of its Art Deco architecture, which filled the city’s streets with rainbow hues and reflected its laidback beach-y appeal. These days, though, Miami is donning a new look – one that’s sleek, stylish, and all grown up.

In recent years, the city has become a centre for so-called “starchitects”. International firms famous for designing some of the world’s most recognisable museums, high-rises, concert halls, and other public buildings are now in the process of reinventing Miami’s skyline with soaring skyscrapers, twisting glass structures, and other sleek, modernist constructions that are imbuing Miami design with a new urbanity. If you’re an architecture lover, or simply want to watch the city transform, don’t miss these essential Miami landmarks.

Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron – perhaps best known for transforming the Bankside Power Station into London’s wildly popular Tate Modern museum – can be credited with helping to kick off Miami’s latest building boom. Their 1111 Lincoln Road construction, begun during the Recession, is a striking and angular open parking garage that combines form with function – it also hosts pop-up events, with shops and restaurants offered at ground level.

Herzog & de Meuron is also behind the Pérez Art Museum Miami, which opened to the public in December 2013. The new home for Miami’s ground breaking contemporary art collection, the museum faces the water and is adapted for the climate. Elevated above the ground in case of storm surges, it also features a veranda and canopy-like covering, and even incorporates plants into its design. Following the successful launch, the firm then began building the 57-storey Jade Signature, a soaring beachfront residential tower in Sunny Isles.

Another architect who’s impacted Miami’s skyline is the legendary Frank Gehry, whose New World Center building whittled down his famous metallic flourishes for a more sedate – but still eye-catching- structure. The headquarters for the New World Symphony features a glassed-in atrium that opens to Atlantic Ocean views. Inside, acoustics are, of course, at the forefront, with a clean, plush interior structure that supports its performers and their sound. After completing the New World Center, Gehry also renovated the city’s famed Bacardi Complex to develop the new National YoungArts Foundation campus.

The firm of the late Zaha Hadid – the Iraqi-British architect known for her curving, futuristic constructions – has also impacted Miami design with its f cutting-edge parking garage, Collins Park Garage, which combines spiral walkways and a sweeping overhang with functional space. Hadid’s office is also behind the One Thousand Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects, an ultra-high end residential tower that will appear in Downtown Miami in 2018, just across from the redeveloping Museum Park. The park also happens to host the Pérez Art Museum as well as the soon-to-open Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (the latter designed by Grimshaw), making the area its own mini Mecca for starchitect design.

Miami’s rejuvenation doesn’t end with these three firms, though. Young Danish star, Bjarke Ingels has left an impression on the city with twin high-rises at the Grove at Grand Bay, while a number of architects – among them Rem Koolhaas – have designs in the works for the Faena District.

It’s official, then: Miami’s facelift is happening so quickly that it’s hard to keep track. It’s all the more reason to keep visiting – the city is guaranteed to look different every time you arrive.

Written by Claire Bullen

Image credits:

Miami Starchitects Museum © Zaha Hadid

Miami Starchitects Lincoln Road © Hufton + Crow

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