Event: AIANY New Practices: Development and Design
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.21.11
Speaker: Robert Wennet — Developer, 1111 Lincoln Road
Introduction: Farnaz Mansuri, Assoc. AIA — Lead Designer, De-Spec, & Member, AIANY New Practices Committee
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee
Developer Robert Wennet is “passionate about learning to become a builder of a certain excellence,” stated Farnaz Mansuri, Assoc. AIA, lead designer at De-Spec, who assisted him in selecting the architect for 1111 Lincoln Road. For this new parking garage in Miami Beach, Wennet ultimately chose Herzog & de Meuron, and their design is far from a typical parking garage.
Wennet purchased the site, which was developed in the 1920s as a retail and entertainment district, to build a structure that would help to re-knit the urban fabric and literally tie in with an existing Brutalist building. Still, maximizing FAR was a priority, so he chose to center the program on parking.
The design creates a new model for the parking garage. Sprinklers and other systems are buried in the concrete slabs, which taper at the edges. Angled, irregular concrete columns support the perimeter of the structure, and a floating staircase turns egressing into an experience. Flat floor-plates, wide parking spaces and drive aisles, indirect lighting, and well-considered signage all contribute to a “pleasant parking experience.”
“1111 Lincoln Road is more civic in nature than a car park,” explained Wennet. “It is a public space.” Aside from parking, the structure accommodates high-end retail, and Wennet’s personal residence is carved beneath the roof. The developer created a public/private partnership with the City of Miami to install native landscaping, seating, and sculptures for the street-level pedestrian plaza in front.
Most of Wennet’s income is not actually generated through parking, but rather by renting the upper floor as event space. With sweeping views of Miami Beach, it has provided the backdrop for many weddings, fashion shows, media events, and films (not to mention 2010 AIA Convention parties).