(K. Brent Tomer),
CAR parks are rarely well-designed. Even more rarely do they amount to “design”: something to enjoy on a purely aesthetic level. However, in Miami Beach, Florida, the car park has become not just a building type that is visually pleasing, but something else entirely: a set piece that offers architects the chance to show off.
Perhaps because the city has expanded rapidly as a travel destination, its new hotels are invariably disappointing dumb citadels of glass and steel that dominate the city’s charming old art-deco look apparently on purpose. Most galleries and museums are soulless, too, the glamorous veranda of the Pérez Art Museum notwithstanding. Miami is largely built on sand or swamp and has a high water-table, making subterranean parking expensive; building above ground is a better option.
The first building to turn this inconvenience into a design opportunity was the evocatively titled Ballet Valet. Arquitectonica, a local firm, had established itself in the 1980s with a series of brash, colourful apartment blocks that were immediately snapped up as sets for…Continue reading