The Heron is a LEED Platinum, four story 20-unit affordable senior housing project located on the Normandy Isle in Miami Beach. Inspired by Miami Modernism (MIMO), a regional style of architecture that developed in South Florida during the post war period where architectural forms were characterized by bright colors, playful forms, and a bit of whimsy.

Project’s Formal Name: The Heron
Location of Project: 1158 Marseille Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33141
Client/Owner: City of Miami Beach Housing Authority
Total Square Footage: 20,900 SF, site area (0.25 acres) = 80du/acre
Total Cost: $3.1 mil.
Completed: 2023

Brooks + Scarpa
3929 W. 139th Street
Hawthorne, CA 90250

1147 NE 7th Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL  33304
Tel.  954-683-1236

Project Team: Brooks + Scarpa
Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA and Jeffrey Huber, FAIA, Lead Designers, Angela Brooks, FAIA – Principal-in-Charge, Daren Chen – Project Architect, Dionicio Ichillumpa, Flavia Christi, Iliya Muzychuk, Eric Mosher, Yimin Wu, Juan Villareal, Project Design Team

Landscape: Plant Studio
Engineering: Douglas Wood & Associates – Structural
Terra – Civil Engineering
JMM Consulting – Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing
ECSG Energy – LEED Consultant
EQS Consulting–Cost Estimating
Interior Design: Brooks + Scarpa
Wayfinding: Brooks + Scarpa
Contractor: Morley Construction
Photography: Brooks + Scarpa

The Heron by Brooks + Scarpa - Sheet4
©Brooks + Scarpa

Inventive new forms of acute angles, sweeping curved walls, large roof overhangs and exterior hallways defined the subtropical environs of South Florida and included the works of world-renowned architect Morris Lapidus, the sublime Subtropical Modernism of Igor B. Polevitzky and the flamboyant Latin infusion of Enrique Gutierrez. The architecture reinterprets and amplifies a sense-of-place through massing, scale, and articulated material expression.

The Heron by Brooks + Scarpa - Sheet6
©Brooks + Scarpa

The Heron builds on this tradition by combining eccentric, playful modern and classical forms. The sweeping curved facade of breeze blocks, consisting of round openings, forms a modern-day frieze, while applying a sense of lightness and permeability to the whole building both inside and out. Behind the white concrete façade are living units, catwalks, terraces and gardens surrounded by pastel-colored pink walls, a color often associated with the Art Deco period in Miami Beach. The shady tranquil, respite of these exterior spaces provide a welcoming and comfortable outdoor gathering place for the senior year-round population in Miami’s subtropical climate. The humidity and heat of summer are addressed by making accommodations for breezeway corridors, covered galleries, and shaded courts. These passive design strategies are accompanied by highly efficient thermally broken glazing, energy star appliances, non-VOC and natural materials, including a PV solar system and a host of other energy efficient measures.

The Heron by Brooks + Scarpa - Sheet8
©Brooks + Scarpa

Pooling ques from historic photos captured through the lens of Andy Sweet, the terraces, balconies, courtyard, and stoops offer “porch-like” spaces that provide options to residents that are typically found to be isolated within standard elderly housing design. The architecture is intended to be dignifying and promote well-being. Whether it’s the pastel colors, brise soleil or the curves of the breeze block façades The Heron’s architecture and playful aesthetic contributes to rich history and character of Miami Beach’s MIMO architecture.


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