Oak Plaza

Tags for this project:
Street LevelArial View of New Retail BuildingsSite Plan, Miami Design District

Location: Miami, FL. Design district near downtown Miami

The project features a transformed parking lot into the neighborhood's first public plaza, a new street that bisects the existing block flanked by two arcaded buildings, preserved 150-year old white oak trees, 12,800 square feet of new retail, office, and restaurant space, and a new open loggia defining one edge of the plaza which offers neighborhood gathering space.

This infill initiative is found within a district of an 18-block community just north of downtown Miami. When suburbanization was the norm, this neighborhood was forgotten but is now seeing significant revival thanks to a committed developer who sought to create a vibrant neighborhood for the city's design trades. His plan included the commission of a master plan, a new streetscape design, and numerous public art installments. Although the neighborhood already hosts leading designers and showrooms, it has yet to form a complete neighborhood, lacking public space for congregating.

At the center of the project's initiative is to create a true center for the district via a public plaza. This was done by transitioning a large parking lot from asphalt to native limestone meant to slowly weather beneath the overhanging oaks. The plaza's edges are lined with a thin retail building and an adjacent loggia. The project's goals limit the footprint of development to preserve the oaks, but creating the plaza and preserving the oaks was a great concern.

The newly constructed street contains retail along both sides that work in collaboration with each other-- many flanking galleries share common bays, fenestration, and lighting, creating a unified and memorable space. Collaboration was used to create a common strategy for the two building facades on 40th Street, each a variation on the theme of public display. The wider building develops a three-bay outdoor room, faced on its interior in brilliantly colored Cuban tile. The narrow building treats the building wall edges as a proscenium, with hangin metal curtains framing loggia walls that can't back in forced perspective, an adumbration of the deep interior space beyond.

In summary, this small scale project has potential to provide lessons for future design and construction of a city still in the making by examining its successful cohering streetscape and memorable public spaces.

Read more at this project's website.

Lessons learned: Public space creation was made possible because it was created on private property, not city-owned property; construction industry's limitations should be taken into consideration by the architects, collaboration between independent architecture firms was crucial to ease disagreements

Transect Zone(s): T4 general, T5 center, SD district.
Status: Complete
Project or Plan's Scale: Block
Features: Civic buildings & parks, Mixed uses.
Total built area (in sq. ft.):
Retail area (in sq. ft.): 13000
Office area (in sq. ft.):
Industrial area (in sq. ft.):
Number of hotel units:
Civic uses (type and size): public plaza, new street
Parks & green space (in acres):
Project team designers: Collaboration: Cure & Penabad Studio, Khoury & Vogt Architects
Project team developers: Dacra Development

Previous site status: Redevelopment

Starting/Ending date of construction/implementation: - 2006