Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects - Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga

Modernism and Starchitects: Wellington Architect explores Florida

September 9, 2019

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On a recent family holiday to Florida and Texas, Wellington architect Oliver Markham captured some big buildings by big name architects. He says that Miami, in particular, seems to be the place for many of the large modern-architecture firms to get works built. He shares some of what he saw ...

Starchitects in Florida

Only just being completed in Miami's city centre is One Thousand Museum by Zaha Hadid ArchitectsThis shapely, sinuous building is made of incredibly smooth, pre-cast concrete elements. These part to reveal polished aluminium ‘gills’ at the base – anthropomorphic, beautifully detailed and built.

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At the other end of a tree-lined axis is Herzog & de Meuron's Perez Art Museum.

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Solid sandstone-block forms sit underneath an extensive ‘brise soleil’ with remarkable green-plant stalactites hanging down above the public spaces.

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Santiago Calatrava’s Polytechnic University Building of Innovation, Science and Technology (2014) is set in rural Lakeland Florida. The surreal-looking building features an immaculately detailed white lattice work of steel tubes draped over the lecture halls and classrooms that then expands to form impressive partially-shaded exterior spaces.

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1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron is a distinctive parking building that marks the corner of a lively and popular outdoor shopping mall in South Beach Miami. Often used for photo shoots and parties, the building also features a penthouse apartment.  

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A carpark building re-imagined as planes of concrete and kept very open, it’s a raw concrete structure with insertions of timber, greenery and colour. 

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Modernist Architecture in Sarasota

Sarasota on the West Coast of Florida is a hot bed of mid-century modern architecture, in particular the work of Ralph Twitchell, Paul Rudolph and Edward Siebert. Many of the early projects by these architects have fallen in to disrepair or been demolished but a few remain ...

The beautiful Umbrella House by Paul Rudolph was built in 1953 and has been immaculately preserved.

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Its large steel framed structure and latticed ‘brise soleil’ floats over the entire house and pool area. The house still looks amazingly contemporary even though its almost 70 years old.

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This striking addition to Sarasota High School, designed by Rudolph in 1958, has been recently restored.

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The building is characterised by a system of concrete panels that hang down from the roof, creating a distinctive and impressive façade but also providing much needed protection from the Florida sun.

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Siesta Key Beach Pavilion was designed by Edward Seibert in 1959 and is still widely used today. It features a beautifully simple system of shaped concrete post and beam structure with precast ‘T’ sections to form a protective sun shade and shelter. 

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