The project is no less Zaha at this unprecedented scale. A concrete exoskeleton structures the perimeter of the tower in a web of flowing lines that integrates lateral bracing within the lines of structural support. Columnar lines near the base splay out to meet at the corners, forming a rigid tube highly resistant to Miami’s demanding wind loads.
With structure at the perimeter, the interior floor plates are almost column free, allowing maximum variation in floor plans. The bottom two-thirds of the tower has two units per floor, while the upper third boasts units that occupy the entire floor. The moving, curving lines of the exoskeleton mean that each succeeding floor plan is slightly different from the last. On the lower floors, terraces occupy the corners; on the upper floors, the terraces are tucked in from the edges.
A duplex penthouse occupies the last two residential floors. The final floor features an aquatic center, leisure area, and event space. There is commercial space at the base, along with several stories of parking. At grade, the tower is ringed by pools and gardens.
Zaha Hadid Architects project director Chris Lepine says that the structure—which appears as if it were eroded from a solid—reads from top to bottom as one continuous liquid frame. The tower represents a line of research in high-rise construction that explores a fluid architectural expression consistent with engineering for the entire height of the structure. The emphasis is on expressing the dynamism of the structure in an integrated whole that avoids the frequent typology of a tower resting on a base.
Lepine points out that while the architects have worked to express the structure and its beauty within a tall, slender tower, the structure itself is “purposeful” in that it is rigid, stiff, and hurricane resistant. It’s not a diagrid structure—but its curving lines allow a diagonal bracketing action. “We had this idea of a fluidity that is both structural and architectural,” Lepine says.
Instead of simply cladding a steel frame, the architects are designing expressive form-work, which can be reused as construction progresses up the tower. The concrete will be painted so that its finished surface is also the architectural finish. “A lot of innovation comes in how we build the form work. We’re looking at several solutions,” continues Lepine. Behind the exoskeleton, the architects have created a folded, faceted, crystal-like façade to contrast with the solidity of the exoskeleton. The dependable Miami sun will create plays of light on the glass within the structural frame.
“What you see is literally structure getting thicker and thinner, as needed,” Lepine says. “There’s a continuity between the disciplines, between the architecture and engineering, to create that impression.”
Developers Gregg Covin and Louis Birdman of One Thousand Museum Limited commissioned Hadid to do the design, in association with the local architect of record, O’Donnell Dannwolf Partners Architects. Hadid started One Thousand Museum after being commissioned to design Collins Park Place, a combination parking garage and public plaza now also in working drawings. There will soon be two notable Hadid structures in Miami as Hadid finally breaks into large-scale construction in the United States.
Text by Joseph Giovannini for Architect Magazine