Stone in the Garden is a project landlocked by two unadorned historical buildings near Washington Avenue in the City of Miami Beach. The design team’s task was to create a low rise multi-family residential solution on a strip of land with numerous constraints: challenging setbacks, no vehicular access, adjacency to historic buildings, minimum distances from adjacent structures, among others. The Market rate Multifamily residential program consists of 5 units (2 one bedrooms, 2 two bedroom duplexes and 1 two bedroom triplex). The total square footage is 6000sf. Design Team: Alejandra Saul (Project Leader + Interior Designer) and Daniela Romero (Landscape Designer).
CONCEPT The concept was to create an object; a stone, that would resemble a found artifact overgrown by nature but peering out from beneath the greenery teeming with light and vitality. The entire site near the object would be sloped up in order to reinforce the idea of the stone being deeply rooted into–or jutting out of–the ground. From a practical standpoint this allowed the design team to creatively use accessible ramps (1:12 slope) and gradually slope 1:20 to the ground floor of the units at base flood elevation. The Northeast corner of the facade is chiseled back to soften the approach to the building and the glazing serves as a way-finding beacon at night and it resembles a shiny shard of glass protruding from the stone during the day.
SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES The building has its long sides facing north and south as a result of the site geometry. However, the curtain wall glazing faces the north and the vines draping over the facade face south. We expect the vines, which are irrigated from the roof deck planter, to mature in 4-7 years. At maturity the vines will shade the south facade and reduce solar heat gain. The roof decks are raised and slatted (gaps between planks) to allow water to pass through and be collected by roof deck drains which carry water to an underground cistern. The roof is expected to collect about 900 gallons of water each year to be used for irrigation. The plant material selected range from Florida native species with low water consumption to Florida-friendly plants that have adapted to Florida’s rainfall seasons and do not require excessive irrigation.
Another key sustainable strategy is resilience. The sloping site is designed to eliminate a conventional wheelchair access ramp but also brings the lowest occupied floor at base flood elevation according FEMA. The materials used on the exterior of the facade are all “permanent finish”, meaning they do not require paint or replacing. The exterior walls are cast-in-place concrete and the horizontal fins along the south facade are Ipe Iron Wood.
Any glazing not facing north or shaded by vines is double insulated glass with a low solar heat gain coefficient. The interior spaces are designed with EPA Water Sense fixtures and Energy Star appliances. Stoves are Natural Gas, a common feature of Miami Beach condominium units.
CLOSING BC3’s interdisciplinary design team has created a simple and thoughtful solution for a small and challenging site. Stone in the Garden expresses strong concepts addressing sustainable design as well as creative aesthetic expressions that make this project a unique addition to Miami Beach’s rich architectural traditions.
TEAM The Team at BC3 (Pawel Hanusowski-Architecture, Daniela Romero-Landscape Design, Alejandra Saul-Interior Design, Claudia Aravena-Interior Design, and AnaClaudia Magalhaes-Landscape Design) completed the design of Ecotech Visions’ new Corporate Headquarters and Co-Working Space in the Pinewood neighborhood of Miami Dade County.
SCOPE The project has been designed to achieve Net Zero Energy through the extensive use of solar photovoltaics on the roof and canopies in the parking area. The scope includes converting an existing 10k SF warehouse to office and industrial space by adding a second floor to portions of the existing building and a new 2k SF addition for the greenhouse on the south facing facade. To see the team’s early stage sketches follow the link: https://goo.gl/rFO7yu
CONCEPT The team’s concept focused on recreating the functions of nature and the role of the forest in the planet’s ecosystem. There are four layers of a forest: Emergent, Canopy, Understory and Forest Floor. Metaphorically the solar PVs play the role of the emergent layer–collecting energy and filtering sunlight to below. The openings in the flat solar PV canopy allow nature to pierce through technology, intertwining the vertical vines with the structure. Large skylights concentrated near the vertical vines will allow natural light to penetrate through the second story of the office space down to the first floor. These spatially interconnected skylights bring light and vitality to the ground level, which we envision as the forest floor.
INTERIOR DESIGN The client expressed an interest in preserving the industrial aesthetic of the existing warehouse space and also felt that many of of startup companies that will call Ecotech home will also be “gritty” businesses that make tangible things rather than only creating content for the digital world. The design will mix new construction with reclaimed elements, such as reclaimed wood for the tables, horizontal work surfaces, and the reception desk. The new construction elements will be a custom glass and steel office front system using barn door hardware for wider office entries. The interior floors will be left as the original concrete on the ground floor and the new second level floor will have an unadorned concrete floor finish. Overall the color palette follows cues from the company’s colors and adds a brighter accent green. To see our inspiration board on Pinterest: https://goo.gl/si7Ygl
CLIENT EcoTech Visions is a green business incubator and accelerator where start-ups can successfully plan, launch, market, and grow their businesses, while simultaneously extending into the marketplace. http://www.ecotechvisions.com/
INDIAN CREEK HOTEL
Indian Creek is a collaboration with Laure Tirouflet Architects. BC3's scope was limited to Landscape and Hardscape Design. The building will be a small 16 room boutique hotel. The architect asked for the landscape to perform simple functions based on the location: screening, shade, rhythm and scale. Mostly, she wanted the landscape to not compete with the building—to be a background element to hide the undesirable or frame architectural features.
BUENA VISTA. ADDITION TO HISTORIC HOME
All three design disciplines at BC3: Architecture, Landscape and Interiors, collaborated on this project in the Buena Vista historic district in the City of Miami. The owner asked the team to highlight the original design of the historic home by providing a contemporary addition that would contrast rather than imitate the original. We chose simple materials: Exposed cast-in-place concrete, aluminum for the trellis and outdoor deck and plenty of flora to temper the hard-edged contemporary aesthetic. Conceptually we wanted to create two volumes: one for the master bedroom suite and the other for a family room--between them we wedged a landscape ribbon meant to grow/flow from the backyard into the interior of the home. To blur the lines of the interior and exterior we introduced a skylight where the addition meets the home. We felt when you enter the home there would be views straight through to the backyard--the combination of natural light entering from the skylight with vines growing atop the trellis would enhance that indoor/outdoor sensation. In subsequent posts we will explore the interior design finishes and the specific plant selection that posted on our Pinterest Board for this project.
Franco & Co.
BC3 teamed with Interior Designer, Daniel Castro of Whiteboxxx to complete a new Podiatrist office in Miramar, FL. the +1000 Square Foot space is a retail storefront in a suburban commercial center. The doctor’s office was unique in that it also offers foot spa services so the client base is more diverse than a conventional podiatrist office. BC3 served as the Architect of Record and Daniel was the project’s Interior Designer, with certain design cues being driven by the owner: gold drapes, light green accent wall, and millwork package.
The Miami Row House is an exploratory project here at Building Center No.3. Our design team has looked at the housing market on the edges of the urban core where there are still large pockets of single family homes. The question we asked was: What would a Miami Row House look like? Design Team: Alejandra Saul (Project Leader + Interior Designer), AnaCláudia Magalhães (Lead Landscape Designer), Daniela Romero (Landscape Designer).
DENSITY As urbanists we are looking for strategies to densify the surrounding the neighborhoods that border the Downtown Miami district without introducing oversized high-rise buildings now prevalent along the city’s waterfront. In our assessment the key is to provide residents, who frequently entertain themselves in Downtown but prefer the openness of suburbia, with a viable alternative to the traditional single family home.
THE SINGLE FAMILY HOME A key feature of the single family home is the open space: locals enjoy their front yard and their backyards. These are outdoor spaces that often have pools, BBQ grilling and seating for intimate gatherings. The front yard acts as buffer from the street; a way to maintain privacy with distance and in many cases the front lawn is a statement of social status. If these are some of key attributes of the single family home then any alternative needs to provide thoughtful solutions to replacing these amenities.
TYPICAL ROW HOUSES Many of the major cities in the US have a row house typology: New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston; to name a few of the largest. Some of the common features in these cities are that the row houses are multi-story, multi-family (in some cases), have a shared party wall, an elevated first floor, no garage, scarcity of natural light and very little green space. These are features that are not appealing to the Miami single family home resident -any solution here would need to address the automobile and open space.
MIAMI “ROW HOUSE” Our design team focused on three key areas for a Miami prototype: natural light, outdoor space and an automobile solution. The first task was to develop the optimal size of a plot: 48 feet wide by 40 feet deep. In practice we have simply compressed the typical single family plot size of 55 ft x 120 ft so that the front yard and the backyard spaces are distributed differently. We also dispensed with the idea of a shared party wall -we wanted to use the sides of the structure for windows and natural light. Lastly, we created a garage for tandem parking and placed a green roof atop for an elevated outdoor amenity.
GREEN SPACE In lieu of the front lawn and backyard, the Miami Row House (MRH) redistributes those spaces in three dimensions. The front lawn shift and becomes a side court that can then be accessed from the dining room, kitchen and living room and serves as outdoor foyer for the home. Atop the garage is a terraced outdoor space that is accessed by a bridge over the living room connecting the stairs to the elevated deck. Each floor has one balcony and each balcony has a deep overhang for shade. On the roof there is a covered outdoor deck -taken together there is over 11 square feet of outdoor space.
NATURAL LIGHT By eschewing the conventional party wall the MRH creates a surface to allow for windows on the sides to bring natural light deeper into the interior spaces. In addition the MRH pulls out toward the street by four feet away from the rear wall to allow the skylight at the roof to pour natural light down the back wall, through the perforated bridge and into the living room space.
SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES The front facade was designed to have deep overhangs at the balconies. This allows the glazing at the bedrooms to be floor to ceiling but remain in shade -thus reducing solar heat gain significantly. As is customary in all BC3 projects the plant material selected is either Florida native or Florida friendly thereby reducing the water consumption associated with irrigation. Internally, the plumbing fixtures and appliances comply the EPA’s Water Sense and Energy Star standards, respectively. The design team also reviewed SIP panels for the building envelope but found the technology too cost prohibitive. SIPs would have improved the structure’s operating phase performance but the high initial costs were prohibitive.
CLOSING The Miami Row House offers the suburban dweller an opportunity to move closer to the urban core without sacrificing the key elements of single family home living: Natural light, green space, and a garage for the automobile. This type of design solution is best suited as a multiple units on a street serving as a liner for a larger 8-12 story building. This will allow the row house to conceal the three stories of parking that is typical for mid-rise buildings.
BROWARD SPECIALTY CENTER
Chicago based design architects, 2 Point Perspective, teamed with BC3 for a new two story, new construction, medical office building in Coconut Creek. BC3 served as the Architect of Record and the Landscape Designer.