As America’s third tallest cityscape, Miami is a hotbed of architectural moxie. The global travel destination earned its Magic City moniker following a mid-aughts construction boom (dubbed “Miami Manhattanization”) that continues to transform the skyline at rapid fire. Emerging cultural attractions and luxury hospitality hotspots have cemented the city as a tabula rasa for designers, architects, and developers.
The city’s starchitect treatment is well underway. In Coconut Grove, two twisting 20-story towers make up Bjarke Ingels’s first stateside condominium. Situated in a campus landscaped by Raymond Jungles, the Terra-developed Grove at Grand Bay boasts rooftop pools, a five-star spa, and a private restaurant to complement Ingels’s boundary-pushing architecture. In Downtown, the late Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum—which will be 62 floors when topped out—will feature a serpentine exoskeleton that lends each residence a unique balcony furnished with the Dame’s biomorphic seating. Hadid’s tower overlooks the Peréz Art Museum by Pritzker Prize–winning Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, who are currently designing the 57-floor residential tower Jade Signature (with interiors by Pierre Yves Rochon) across the bay in Sunny Isles Beach.
A recent influx of slender towers proves the once-overlooked Edgewater and Midtown areas are experiencing an economic resurgence. International firm Arquitectonica has been commissioned to design several of the area’s high-rises. Showcasing interiors by some of the industry’s most renowned practitioners, the structures include Piero Lissoni’s GranParaiso, David Rockwell’s Hyde Midtown Suites and Residences, Clodagh’s EAST Miami at Brickell City Center, Jean-Louis Deniot’s Elysee Miami, and the firm’s own Aria on the Bay. Aside from EAST Miami, which was completed in 2016, all projects are slated for occupancy by 2019.
Miami’s cultural institutions are also charting new territory. In Miami Beach, OMA’s dome-like Faena Forum features a glazed oculus that crowns abundant space for arts programming. Asymmetric windows punctuate a cantilevered concrete volume that makes room for a landscaped pedestrian plaza along Collins Avenue. Across the bay, the Wynwood-based Rubell Family Collection announced a 2018 relocation to an Annabelle Selldorf–designed structure in nearby Allapattah. Forty exhibition galleries—along with a sculpture garden and research library—will showcase the collection, which includes works by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Yayoi Kusama. During Miami Design Week 2016, Rene Gonzalez Architect revealed RGA Rocket, a traveling exhibition that showcases furnishings by emerging European design talent. The showcase’s inaugural show took place in the Prairie House, a structure Gonzalez elevated to raise awareness of Miami’s rising sea levels.
With its abundance of high-end retail, Miami’s Design District—the brainchild of Design Miami chairman Craig Robins—has become a one-stop shop. Its latest addition, a Tod’s store by Bonetti/Kozerski, greets customers with a 70-foot-long interior wall clad in the brand’s signature tanned Vacchetta leather. This backdrops an array of silver travertine tables perched on polished concrete flooring. Around the corner, Barbarito Bancel Architectes’s sculptural facade for Dior’s boutique pays homage to the French fashion house’s pleated skirts. The interiors, the vision of retail superstar Peter Marino, highlight backlit displays and a video art wall.
While every construction market is subject to ebbs and flows, Miami continues to attract vacationers, developers, and designers in droves. The city’s prognosis is positive: an upswing of architecture luminaries leaving their mark in the skyline means Miami shows no signs of slowing down.