Miami Beach, FL
This is an ecologically sensitive community park at the south end of Miami Beach. The park is programmed to accommodate both active and passive recreation, with grass playfields, coastal dunes, hammock zones, a playground, a wide bay front promenade, and dramatic views of the water from a serpentine landform and the cut walk. An important goal in the park design is the integration of the park with the urban fabric of the city. This is primarily achieved by spatially extending the two major street axes – Washington Avenue and Ocean Drive – into the park space which provide direct views and pedestrian links between the park and the surrounding neighborhood.
The bold, sculptural landforms that rise throughout the park provide topographic variation and spatial structure in an otherwise flat site. The iconic, 13-foot high serpentine landform in the eastern portion of the park provides unique, elevated views of the ocean while also providing access to the beach. Additional landforms within the middle of the park create gradual slopes to recline and rest while providing a visual screen and transition the park from the parking lot. The landforms are counterpointed by large coastal hammocks, which are accessed with a winding shell path and planted with a wide variety of native trees, shrubs and groundcovers. These densely planted hammocks will provide a shady microclimate in contrast to the grass playfields and landforms.
A multi-use pavilion located in the middle of the park is enclosed in an elliptical form that tucks itself into the serpentine dune. The plan is sequential west to east beginning with the offices for the CMB Parks and Ocean Rescue agencies on the north end, locker rooms for Ocean Rescue and Parks staff, public food and beverage stand, public meeting room and public restrooms. Alluding to the geological formation of coral ridges typical of the Florida peninsula, a limestone shell aggregate veneers the building. The large-scale pop-out windows are located in the Park and Recreation and Ocean Rescue offices and provide direct views to the playground and waterfront promenade. The engagement of the bridge, outdoor theater, playground with the pavilion gives opportunity to a multitude of activities and acts as one of the major hubs of the park. The wood roof deck provides a unique viewing platform to the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. The ceramic tiled storage cones evoke a sea creature’s sensory antennas in motion.
Punctuating the cut-walk every 100 feet, the 20 foot tall pylons provide colored illumination along the promenade that changes seasonally so as not to impact the turtle hatchlings return to the sea. When illuminated, the pylons provide a dramatic artistic welcome to the thousands of cruise ship passengers and international shipping traffic that pass by the park each year.
South Pointe Park has set a new precedent for park design in Southern Florida. High quality materials and a unique design have resulted in a premier park and popular destination for the residents and visitors of Miami Beach. This year South Pointe Park was awarded top Honor for Excellence in Design by the Florida/Caribbean Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.