Urban Fold

Living the Parking Lot Lifestyle

Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron have designed a new parking garage for Miami that attempt to engage the public with a shockingly open-air design.

"As you ascend through the structure, its concrete planes fold themselves beneath you, each level exposing a yet more compelling vantage-point on the surrounding city. At one point a complex tangle of steel by artist Monika Sosnowska turns out also to be a safety feature, stopping kids getting struck beneath the ramp. By the time you reach the top, the city, the sea and the sky twinkle before you in a filmic panorama.

The idea is to create a series of layers that extend the public realm up into the building, to attract events, parties and life into the structure."

The article features a must-see picture of the building.

Full Story: The car park as a way of life



The anti-green building?

Living not far from this behemoth, I have watched the construction with bewilderment. I could not figure out what this building was about, but the article answers a few questions. As far as I can tell, it is a glorified parking garage. From an urban design perspective it totally dominates the western end of Lincoln Road (thankfully it is on the north side of the street, otherwise it would have cast a permanent shadow over the pedestrian street). Further, the structure appears to be the model anti-green building with its massive angular concrete columns and glaringly bright lighting scheme. While some may swoon over its bold and striking design, in my mind, this building will always be a monument to the old economic paradigm, the excessive, wasteful, "bigger is better" consumption economy which fell like a house of cards - unlike this building which looks like it will be around for a long time.

Herzog & de Meuron Do It Again

If you think that's bad, wait until you see the pyramid they are designing for Paris. I hope that one will be high-profile enough to provoke an international outcry against starchitecture.

For a picture, see http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3123607

The design for Paris is the ultimate modernist cliche: a simple geometric form with glass walls.

The design for Miami shows that their architecture is purely esthetic and has no social conscience. At a time when the world is trying to stop global warming, they are trying to glamorize the parking structure.

Charles Siegel

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