Sure, it’s designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.
But Miami Beach Commissioners have their own ideas about how the $22 million-parking garage to be built in Collins Park should look.
They scoffed at renderings that showed the figure-eight structure with swooping, bare concrete parking decks, ground-level cafes and gumbo limbo trees for shade.
“Can you paint it white?” asked Commissioner Jonah Wolfson.
He wasn’t the only one with suggestions. Commissioner Ed Tobin asked whether the plans could be changed to add a park on the rooftop. And Mayor Matti Herrera Bower asked whether something could be done to cover up the exposed seams where one concrete slab connects with another.
The elected officials said they didn’t want to end up with another 1111 Lincoln Road — the angular parking garage designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. The garage has been featured in publications around the world. Brides have staged their weddings from the rooftop, surrounded by sweeping views of Miami Beach. It has hosted wine tastings, yoga events and commercial photo shoots.
But it looks unfinished, with an unpainted concrete exterior and exposed seams, commissioners said.
“While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the residents overall don’t find 1111 Lincoln Road to be that aesthetically pleasing. I think that everyone thinks that it looks like it needs a bucket of paint,” Wolfson said.
Chris Lépine, a Hadid associate in charge of the Collins Park project, tried to convince commissioners that this garage would be different. The concrete would be lighter — not elephant gray. The design would be broken up with shiny steel columns. And the cable guardrails — which the Londoner called balustrades, throwing off the Yanks on the dais — would break up the concrete slabs.
“I think the emphasis should also be on the crispness of the balustrades,” Lépine said.
“What is that? This is esoteric, over-my-head BS,” Wolfson responded.
Lépine said he could consider paint, wouldn’t budge on the inclusion of a park, and implied that the exposed seams are staying in the design.
“The design that we’re presenting to you now, we’re 100 percent happy with,” Lépine said. “It’s gone through months of work, communication, collaboration. And we’ve reached a result that we like.”
In the end, commissioners approved the design as-is, but asked Lépine to relay their suggestions back to Hadid and think about including them in the project as it moves forward.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014.
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