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Arquitectonica splashed onto the design scene with an ensemble of apartment buildings and private residences that seemed to pave the way for Miami's resurgent glamour. Their now-legendary Atlantis condominium building, featured in the opening credits of Miami Vice, startled the design world with its audacious form and colors. Since then, Arquitectonica has become a firm of global stature with a professional staff of more than 180 people and offices in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila, Lima, Buenos Aires, and Sao Paulo.
Founding partners Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Brescia, a husband-and-wife team, continue to put forward a sassy brand of smart postmodernism that blends functionalism with an emphasis on color, regionalist allusion, and energetic imagery. Their designs have been exhibited in major museums and institutions around the world, including a show focusing on their 57-story Westin Hotel/E Walk project for New York's Times Square at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
Overseas projects include mixed-use developments, resorts and hotels, retail centers and office buildings, a United States Embassy in Lima, Peru, an opera house/symphony hall, and several bank headquarters. Here in the States, Arquitectonica's projects span a similarly broad range. They include the Miami City Ballet studio and headquarters in Miami Beach, the Philips Arena in Atlanta, the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Bongos Cuban Cafe and Disney All Star Resorts, both in Orlando. Across the spectrum of their projects, Spear and Fort-Brescia discover intelligent ways to merge formal clarity and decorative wit, continuing to demonstrate--as they did at the Atlantis--that urban architecture falls short if it doesn't also know how to have a good time.
Mr. Fort-Brescia earned a B.A. in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University and a M.A. in Architecture from Harvard University. In addition to teaching and lecturing at the Harvard School of Urban Design, Mr. Fort-Brescia has lectured around the world and his work has been exhibited in numerous prominent museums throughout the United States and Europe.
His designs have won many American Institute of Architects Design Awards and Progressive Architecture Design Awards. Mr. Fort-Brescia is the recipient of the 1998 AIA Silver Medal for Design Excellence and the 1996 AIA Florida Honor for Design Award. He was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1992. He was also honored by the Salvadori Center in New York with the 2000 Founder's Award. The Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum ran a four-month retrospective on Arquitectonica's work throughout the world, focusing on the Times Square Redevelopment.