I would have ignored 1111 entirely had it not been on a shuttle-bus route from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the downtown hotels. Even then, it seemed a bit of an embarrassment, as if a derelict structure had been inhabited by squatters who added partitions and struts to hold the whole thing up, much like the 2-by-4s supporting the palm trees planted in front. I would not have been surprised to see laundry waving fitfully from the cables. It looked like money had run out for some developer.
Click any image above to enlarge.
I was taken aback to learn later that this was not only planned but also considered a “cutting-edge” design by the renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron. It’s mixed-use: you can drive up and park to visit a restaurant, retail shop, or residence or to attend one of the parties or events held on the parking decks after hours. It’s transparent: there are almost no walls and some very high ceilings. It’s clever: the developer used a zoning loophole to match the height of the neighboring building. And it’s apparently very well lit, judging from the glamorous evening photos that appear in the press.
I get all that. The lighting, the views, the sense of space on the high floors, and the taut steel cables that almost invisibly restrain cars at the edge of the decks … OK. The titillating sense of inhabiting a space that is somehow off limits — like a Roman ruin, or a Piranesian print, or a building under construction — is understood.
But this looks unfinished. The exotic quirks diminish in daylight. It shares almost precisely the massing of its older midcentury neighbor, which exacerbates the sense of a dream deferred. And to conceive of a structure that exalts the car in an age when we might more wisely be thinking along opposite lines seems an utter waste — much like the irony of sustainability seminars at a frigidly air-conditioned convention in Miami Beach on a hot June day.
Top image: The completed parking garage (the crane was required for completion of the interior construction of the developer’s penthouse unit). Photo: James Cornetet AIA.