Envisioned by a private real estate developer and art collector Robert Wenett, 1111 Lincoln road was the product of his desire to solve a crucial urban problem in Miami beach – parking. Herzog and de Meuron, famous swiss Pritzkertects were chosen for the task and given the direction to make something which is ‘not iconic’ but will befittingly strive to represent the legacy of the developer long after he is gone and one that would stir up the social scenario of the place while simultaneously solving a major urban problem.  

1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron - Sheet1
1111 Lincoln road car park_©Duccio Malagamba  Iwan Baan  Hufton + Crow  Erica Overmeer

The place has undergone a lot of change along with Miami’s shifting fortunes. As Miami became a destination for glamorous travel the place found its name, before again plummeting following 1960s race riots and white flight. Today, it can complement the allure of its climate and beaches with a touch of cultural refinement owing to occasions like the annual Art Basel Miami Beach art market. Number 1111 is a junction, at the far end of the ocean, where pedestrianisation stops and the roadway connects to the network of roads that forms the rest of this automobile-dependent city. It serves as a port, dock, or doorway where cars and people on foot can interact.  

Lincoln road is an alive urban experience, a street driven by the force of people walking, and shopping and where small-scale restaurants and bars serve their customers 24×7, all year round, under lush trees and stars. This aura of the place thus gives importance to the car park facility where people can let go of the automobile and enjoy what the streets and the city with marvellous beaches have to offer. The essence of Lincoln road was one of the sources of inspiration for the architecture of the car park, it is opposite the Suntrust building, a massive closed block structure to which it is connected. The garage on the other hand is fully open with varying ceiling heights between standard parking height and double or triple height, to accommodate other programs, permanently as well as temporarily.

The project comprises 4 different parcels – 

  1. An existing building, the former Suntrust building, embodies the brutalist spirit and is renewed since the bank has left the building to be accommodated by retail programs around the corner. 
  2. A mixed-use structure, a concrete monolith for parking, retail and a private residence become attached to the Suntrust building. 
  3. A two-story building with a relocated bank on the ground floor and four introverted residences on the upper floor. 
  4. A landscaped alley designed by landscape architect Raymond Jungles and a surface parking lot behind it. 
1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron - Sheet2
The plan of the project identifying the four different parcels_©Herzog & de Meuron (edited by author)

The central structure around which everything revolves is the concrete frame of the parking structure. It completely alienates itself from the other structures with extravagant wrappings the architects are famous for, it stands tall with no facade – naked, in a city of surfaces, of pink plaster and deco doodahs. Eternally giving a vibe of being ‘under construction’ in a simplistic manner, the building oozes its charm in its kind of extravagance. The concrete slabs with extra high ceilings are envisioned to host parties, wine tastings, photo shoots, concerts and even weddings along with the low ceilings to create a buzzy, syncopated rhythm as is done by the Vs and slants of the pillars. This ephemeral switch between expansion and compression lined with magnificent views of the sea, trees and buildings creates an intrigue to see what happens on the next level. This has been achieved in a very subtle manner with a slow build-up of interest rather than a flashy announcement. 

The marriage of lavish spatial design and expert construction is what gives it zing. The design seeks to let go of ‘everything about parking garages that people hate: low ceilings, overhead lights, narrow ramps, pipes and sprinklers.’ Vertical surfaces are clear since all directional indicators are on the floor. The act of parking is somewhat dizzying due to the barely present balustrades at the edge of the decks which are detailed to give extra-thin leading edges. Walking into the garage on foot or in a car is a panoramic, ceremonial experience courtesy of an open, sculptural stairway in the centre of the structure. The private apartment, which is tucked away on a mezzanine of the top floor of the parking lot, spills out onto terraces despite being folded into the building and excessively landscaped. The terraces cross over to the roof of the existing building as well. 

1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron - Sheet3
The sculptural stairway_©Rasmus Hjortshøj
1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron - Sheet4
Lone retail store on the fifth floor_©Rasmus Hjortshøj
1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron - Sheet5
Landscape on the terrace level_©Rasmus Hjortshøj
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Perfect setting for a wedding ceremony_©Pablo Laguia
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Panaromic vistas from every level_©Rasmus Hjortshøj

Architecture is evident in the structure. The car park is an entity built by a multitude of concrete slabs that serve as ramps, floor plates, and columns. These features’ position and shape are the consequence of several interrelated factors, including a complicated overlap of the site and building code requirements, programme decisions, and the desire to blend with Lincoln Road Mall and establish its commencement at the corner of Alton Road.

The enormous Suntrust Bank structure from the 1970s was converted into a public space as part of 1111. This building’s ground floor is significantly reduced by the lowest floor plate of the parking garage, resulting in a complete glass, kinked storefront running parallel to Lincoln road with 16 new tenants that bring new exquisite brands to Lincoln Road Mall, which are made possible by the new framework that slides under the bulky concrete building. The new rooftop restaurant, which provides stunning views of the Art Deco District and Miami Beach, is denoted by a new entrance and an open, illuminated stairway in one of the Suntrust building’s existing corner towers.

The new Suntrust Bank attempts to avoid making any architectural statement toward Alton Road, due to the presence of the highly expressive parking lot, and is an example of “architecture without architects.” The bank is located on the main floor of the two-story stucco structure, while four similar, private homes are located on the top floor. The location has no vistas, therefore two meticulously planted courtyards serve as the apartments’ setting, while the façade just conceals the steps behind a white decorative lattice. Lastly, Lincoln Road Mall has been redesigned between 1111 and the cinema across the street. A generous common plaza has been created with groups of trees, benches and water features to invite visitors to take a moment to relax and the entire width of the street is paved in black and white stripes of natural stone.

Among other things, 1111 Lincoln Road is a piece of deal-making. The extra-high decks were possible since zoning restrictions focused on total surface area rather than height, and because planners loved the notion of this “civic building,” they were sympathetic. Wennett claims that the structure “is in motion” and that it “looks like a performance piece.” Furthermore, he claims that it involves “twisting your sense of where you are, placing you in other viewpoints, upsetting things, and placing you somewhere you haven’t been before.”

1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron - Sheet8
The building in its entirety_©Rasmus Hjortshøj

References 

  1. https://www.architectural-review.com/today/1111-lincoln-road-by-herzog-de-meuron-miami-usa?tkn=1
  2. https://www.herzogdemeuron.com/index/projects/complete-works/276-300/279-1111-lincoln-road.html
  3. https://www.archute.com/1111-lincoln-road/
  4. https://www.dezeen.com/2010/04/19/1111-lincoln-road-by-herzon-de-meuron/
  5. https://www.atlasofplaces.com/architecture/1111-lincoln-road/
Author

Janhavi is an architect, who believes in seeing the world more than speaking about it. She's keen and observant and invested in the little things that make up the bigger picture. She believes that there are always other perceptions that need to be appreciated and literature in architecture is a crucial tool to realise another point of view.

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