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May 28, 2015
By Karissa Rosenfield
SHoP Architects and West 8 have teamed up with developer Michael Simkins to propose a new 10-acre “Innovation District” in Miami’s Park West neighborhood. If approved, the four-block area would foster the “growth of creative technology industries” within the city and provide “world-class urban amenities” to the surrounding communities.
“True innovation today requires the very thing that cities, at their best, have always provided: creative proximity. Even as it continues its rapid development, the city of Miami does not currently offer significant urban environments that meet the necessary criteria,” said SHoP in a press release.
“The Miami Innovation District is conceived with the goal of correcting this shortfall, giving the city the means for truly sustainable economic growth in this increasingly important sector. The district is conceived as an urban campus, an integrated complex of mutually-supportive programs including public amenities, targeted retail opportunities, indoor and outdoor spaces for community and campus gathering, performance and exhibition zones, offices, and a variety of housing.”
The district’s masterplan features a network of interior walkways, shaded public plazas and a “Commons” level of building entries and public passages, as well as an elevated “Campus” for larger open office space and indoor gatherings. On the “Horizon” level a series of “green-roof landscapes” will offer space for outdoor gathering and cultural programming, while a unique “mixing chamber” will connect towers over the height of 200 feet at the “Cloud” level – activating the district at all heights.
“In total, the project comprises 3,850,000 square-feet of office programs, 2,400,000 square-feet of residential and 250,000 square-feet of retail with 2,500 spaces for parking integrated into the buildings. The planned apartments include what are coming to be known as ‘micro units’ – living spaces of 300 square feet or less that are designed specifically to meet the needs of young, creative urbanites who may currently be priced out of the competitive Miami market,” adds SHoP.
The Miami Innovation Tower will be an integral component of the district, featuring a “fully-integrated active skin” that is said to be the first globally. “Unlike traditional billboard signage, the mesh-like messaging technologies are in fact integrated completely into the complex, pleated form of the tower’s exterior. The result is an ethereal, highly-transparent surface, open to the slender concrete tower core and views of the city and the sky beyond.”