Simple adjustments, slight alterations, subtle illusions. These are not tagline descriptions of the 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach project, or a synopsis for a body of work. Instead they operate as retroactively projecting the course of professional development in the works of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The practice is known, from its earliest built projects, as a firm who produced artistically driven facade treatments where the vertical plane — the ‘nominal façade’ — would define form through the visually stimulating surface or skin. As the practice has evolved, it is argued here, they have crafted a new strategy: the horizontal plane as vertical facade generator.
In its progression the practice has deviated from facade ornamentation and fabrication towards the removal of the facade altogether; allowing for the floor plate — as a visual element — to operate as inadvertent facade and thus doubling its structural and visual importance. The placing of floor plates becomes the force creating the form – the ‘inverted structural skin’. The stripped back architectural form does not remove the facade, but removes the idea of a facade, paradoxically creating a building mass almost by default.
The floor plates at 1111 Lincoln Road are design generators in both programmatic and visual terms. The building is a mixed-use development comprising of four different parcels that predominantly functions as a parking facility. Floor-to-ceiling heights vary between standard parking heights, double or even triple height in order to accommodate other programs in an inventive twist on the underutilised programmatic constraint of the typical parking station. The site accommodates an existing building, the former Suntrust bank; 300 car multi-level parking facility; 40,000sqft retail; four luxury private residences as well as a number of internal courtyards; and, a public promenade with a glass pavilion designed by the artist Dan Graham.
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