Five Urban Projects for Miami

Five Urban Projects for Miami

While the forces that shape the modern city are both varied and complex, in recent history, economic and functional concerns have become the overriding generating forces of design. This reality has provided an impoverished view of the city that has far too often produced redundant, homogenized urban landscapes. In response to this seemingly bleak urban condition, the project sets out to develop a mode of investigation centered on a scenographic or visual understanding of the city. Consequently, the project proposes to investigate a visual planning strategy that does not rely on the plan as a point of departure, but rather begins with an understanding of the city in elevation and perspective. The investigation is not concerned with an abstract two-dimensional understanding of the plan, but proceeds to elaborate and structure the plan based on visual and formal characteristics of existing conditions.

This methodology is applied to the careful choreography of a series of sites located along Miami’s Biscayne Bay with the intent of presenting the viewer with a new image of the city. The collection of projects seeks to reconstitute the relationship between the city and the sea, a connection that was understood at the founding of the city but has been largely ignored or privatized by current development trends. The insertion of key projects at precise moments in the fabric will help to initiate a process of urban renewal and regeneration. Dialectically, by establishing this series of seemingly unrelated sites in plan, the projects arrive at a redefinition of the city center.

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Barranquilla Public Spaces

Barranquilla Public Spaces

Globalization in our world is associated with the generic and the commonplace. Uniformity has become a global epidemic and placelessness is now an integral part of our everyday lives. The project for five, new, public spaces, located within Barranquilla, Colombia’s historic city center, is conceived otherwise, and returns to the profound lessons learned from the past (the not so distant past) where the city’s unique architectural and urban development was the result of a confluence between nature, building and local folklore. To this end, the project explores the potential to create spaces of cultural specificity where the colloquial and the vernacular participate in the composition and construction of the contemporary city.

The project includes the redesign of the Plaza San Nicholas, the city’s emblematic public space; the Plaza San Roque defined by new program (largely a rectory serving the adjacent cathedral) that supports a large, hovering, roof which serves to protect the city’s inhabitants from the intense tropical heat; the Paseo de las Palmas with its broad canopy of native acacias and palms, the Plaza de las Palmas with its new cultural center and grandstand; the Plaza San Jose, and finally the Plaza del Hospital with its new school.

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Train Lane

Train Lane

Located within Miami’s Little River neighborhood, the project sets out to redefine the edges of the train line that bisects the area by proposing a continuous covered colonnade that creates both a covered pedestrian path as well as a new urban elevation to the existing abandoned warehouses that line the underdeveloped corridor. This new urban fragment creates a modular structure that becomes an instantly recognizable figure within the otherwise unmemorable urban landscape.

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Miami

— Status
Completed September 2015

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