The latest twist on designer parking garages: a Jetsonesque elevator that whisks residents to their condos while they are still in the driver’s seat.
Pull over into the designated space. Turn off the engine. And enjoy the oceanfront view as you escalate in a glass elevator that takes you, while you are sitting in your car, to the front door of your apartment.
No, this is not the latest Disney ride.
The $560 million Jetsonesque tower will rise in Sunny Isles Beach as part of a collaboration between Germany-based Porsche Design Group and a local developer, Gil Dezer. It likely will be the world’s first condominium complex with elevators that will take residents directly to their units while they are sitting in their cars.
“You don’t have to leave your car until you are in front of your apartment,” said Juergen Gessler, CEO of Porsche Design Group.
Here is how it will work: After the resident pulls over and switches off the engine, a robotic arm that works much like an automatic plank will scoop up the car and put it into the elevator. Once at the desired floor, the same robotic arm will park the car, leaving the resident nearly in front of his front door. Voila, home!
The glass elevators will give residents and their guests unparalleled views of the city or of the ocean during their high-speed ride, expected to last 45 to 90 seconds.
“What this is really doing is taking two technologies that have existed for centuries and putting them together,” said Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Properties. “It’s taking the robotic arm and it’s putting it in an elevator.”
The building, to named Porsche Design Tower, was approved unanimously Thursday night by the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission. Before the meeting, Mayor Norman S. Edelcup said he had not heard any opposition to the plan.
The cylindrical building will be erected on 2.2 acres of land at 18555 Collins Avenue. The 57-story luxury tower will have 132 units. Smaller units will be allocated two parking spaces and larger ones will have four, with 284 robotic parking spaces in total. There will be three elevators.
Residents will be able to see their cars from their living rooms.
“So people with fancy cars and antiques, they will actually have a really nice view of them,’’ Dezer said.
Units will range from 3,800 to 9,500 square feet and could cost up to $9 million.
The car elevators are the latest twist on Miami Beach’s burgeoning passion for designer parking garages. The highly acclaimed 1111 Lincoln Road designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron opened in 2009; also planned are garages by London architect Zaha Hadid, Mexico’s Enrique Norten and Miami’s own Arquitechonica.
Dezer said his hopes are that many other buildings in the United States and the rest of the world will be constructed following the Porsche Design Tower model.
But this will be the first and last one in South Florida, he said.
“We want to keep this really exclusive and not have this become a McDonald’s kind of style. The tower is going to change the skyline of Miami Beach,” Dezer said. “This is something Floridians should be proud to have in their state.”
Rendering above of the 57-story, $650 million Porsche Design Tower condo planned for Sunny Isle Beach by developer Gil Dezer. The building features glass elevators that whisk drivers with the cars directly to their homes. Courtesy of Porsche Design Group.
Source: Miami Herald
Monumental victims of dwindling finances, public backlash and political roadblocks, many designs from the world’s most celebrated architects never broke ground. Promising much in their form and magnitude, the stunning structures exist only as colorfully rendered visions on a lost landscape. Here, man’s best unmade plans.
Zaha Hadid's proposed Dubai Performing Arts Center was a 2009 victim of the global economic slowdown.
In his classic novel “Invisible Cities,” Italo Calvino envisioned a building, in a city called Fedora, containing a series of small globes. The visitor peering into each would see a small city, a model of a different Fedora. “These are the forms the city could have taken,” wrote Calvino, “if for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today.” In the real world, one can stand on a street in Manhattan and look into one’s iPhone, where the app “Museum of the Phantom City: Other Futures” reveals the New York that might have been: from the fantastic (Buckminster Fuller’s projected Midtown-covering dome) to the nearly realized (Diller and Scofidio’s Eyebeam Museum).
Architectural history is told by the victors, city skylines their monuments. But there are also missing monuments, those projects which, by dint of political folly, the capricious tides of public taste or simple financial overreach, never break ground. The credit crisis, for example, has turned a presumptive architectural fantasyland in Dubai, that emirate of excess—where submerged hotels or $3 billion cities in the form of chessboards were the order of the day—into a graveyard of gauzy renderings.
The financial collapse claimed so many schemes that the architectural and design provocateurs Constantin Boym and Laurene Leon Boym, known for their small metal replicas of such buildings as the Chernobyl plant (as part of the “Buildings of Disaster” series), began in 2009 to produce a series of so-called “Recession Souvenirs,” projects like Norman Foster’s Russia Tower. “But the series was short-lived,” says Constantin Boym, speaking from Doha, Qatar. “There was not much enthusiasm in this black humor any more.” (The few that were made, however, are highly collectible.)
As is suggested by their difficulty in getting built, unbuilt projects are often superlative in some sense, as much a statement as an edifice. Boris Iofan’s neoclassical Palace of the Soviets, for example, on which construction began in 1937, gradually morphed (with input from Stalin) into what would have been the world’s largest skyscraper. War intervened, however, and its steel frame was repurposed into bridges in 1941.
Norman Foster's Russia Tower. Photos: Renderings to Remember - These brilliant designs from some of the world's greatest architects never saw the light of day.
Even when absent, unbuilt projects can exert a curiously powerful hold on the cultural imagination: Étienne-Louis Boullée’s massively spherical 18th-century cenotaph for Isaac Newton still looms, like the Montgolfier balloon that was said to have inspired it, over the architectural landscape. The 1960s British proposal by Cedric Price for his Fun Palace, with its visual echoes in the Centre Pompidou, now looks prophetic.
Perhaps the most common, and salient, feature of unbuilt projects is that every architect, at some point in his career, will design one—or several. Will Jones, author of “Unbuilt Masterworks of the 21st Century,” says these are not necessarily negatives in an architect’s career. “If an architect can look back upon it without too much bitterness, it’s the perfect area to test out ideas,” he says. “It’s a proving ground, that they take on and can use in future buildings.” Jones notes that Richard Rogers’s Welsh Assembly building, for example, contains ideas from his unbuilt Rome Congress Center design, which itself, the firm notes, advanced themes from a competition for the Tokyo International Forum project.
The building itself hardly sailed to completion; Rogers was briefly fired from the project. But he ultimately avoided the fate of Zaha Hadid, whose Cardiff Bay Opera House, one of the most lamented unbuilt projects of the past few decades, crashed amid the rocky shoals of politics—nationalist, classist (The Sun denounced using Lottery funds for a project for “Welsh toffs”) and aesthetic. “It devastated us,” Hadid says. But this, and a subsequent slew of unbuilt competition entries, “tested our ideas on landscape topography, and you can see the results of this now in all of our work.” Hadid may be the only architect with two unbuilt opera houses (a project in Dubai was terminated), not to mention a celebrated—and built—opera house in Guangzhou, China.
Sometimes unbuilt projects turn out to have a rather unexpected second life. The young Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose firm designed the Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, entered a competition in 2008 for a resort project in the north of Sweden. The firm lost the competition. But when they showed the work to a Chinese developer, he was struck by the fact that the building’s shape resembled the Chinese character for “people.” The firm hired a feng shui master, scaled the building up to “Chinese proportions,” and the “People’s Building” is now slated for Shanghai’s Bund.
With China’s expanding economic might, its low-cost labor, and relative lack of restrictions in blank-slate cities like Guangzhou, unbuilt projects have been a rarity. This is common in places where economic booms and cultural dreams conspire. As Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne argues, “Los Angeles was known for much of the 20th century as the city where anything—and everything—could and did get built, from massive subdivisions, to avant-garde houses clinging to hillsides, to hot dog stands shaped like hot dogs.”
On the flip side, however, sits another kind of “unbuilt” architecture—that which is torn down. And Los Angeles, Hawthorne says, rarely paused to reflect as it knocked down iconic architecture. Today, he says, with open land more scarce, seismic and other building codes constricted, it’s much harder to get things built. So now, as it is elsewhere, the destroyed and the unbuilt jostle in the collective imagination, and, as Hawthorne describes it, “the black-and-white photograph of the long-ago destroyed landmark is now joined in the collective imagination by the sleek digital rendering of the high-design project that couldn’t get financing.”
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Article in WSJ
architects, architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, Urban Planning
Bjarke Ingels, Christopher Hawthorne, Constantin Boym, Invisible Cities, Laurene Leon Boym, Norman Foster, TOM VANDERBILT, Wall Street Journal, Will Jones, Zaha Hadid
- The SOFT HOUSE by KVA Matx in Germany.
Making my selection of buildings this week led me to a surprising discovery about the representation of women in architecture. I started with a simple enough premise to select ten buildings by female architects off the top of my head. I was immediately picking out Zaha Hadid, Kazuyo Sejima and Gae Aulenti; I thought this selection would essentially pick itself. Instead, what I discovered was that finding female-designed architecture, when excluding husband/wife teams, is extremely difficult and often the only work I came across was more akin to interior design.
I’m absolutely aware that I’m writing an article about women’s role in architecture as a man. I have three older sisters and should know better, but I’m ignoring the big flashing warning sirens, so I’ll go to the hard facts. Equality in the construction industry is notoriously poor — in the UK for example, just 10% of people employed by the construction industry are women; amazingly the figures for registered, working architects are similarly disproportional at just 12%. This was shocking to me; at architecture school there was equality in numbers — so why is this ratio so low?
The average number of female graduate architects in the UK is 38%, so there is an enormous drop off rate as they enter the professional sphere. When Robert Stern, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, was asked in 2007 why there are so few women architects in the world, he responded with some interesting insights:
Oh my god I’m gonna… This is a complicated… Architecture schools… like Yale have basically 50/50. Maybe fewer women than men, but not many. And that’s been true of architecture school since I began to teach pretty much. It was definitely not true when I went to architecture school, which was a boy’s club for sure. But women come to the critical points in their career when they embark upon motherhood. And architecture is a totally time consuming — disproportionate to any amount of any amount of money any architect is paid — business. Plus the global reach of architecture today demanding unbelievable amounts of travel — national and international travel — has added to the complication. And so women find it harder. They get torn between their desire to have a family and be with their family and pursue their profession. And I think that’s really the reason that, in the long run, women are not seen where they should be at the top of the profession. Because certainly in terms of their talents and their professional skills, there’s no difference between men and women.
Is there an obvious femininity to the architecture presented here? Should there be? Do you think that the poor representation in the industry might be influencing the work of the few women who do succeed? I think these are questions that must be asked at a very basic level. For me it is a scary idea that our built environment will continue to be dominated by the design of men as it has been throughout history. It is a missed opportunity and a discussion that must be raised. In a world of so-called equality should we expect women to fit into a profession of architecture that was totally evolved by men? Or instead should the profession of architecture adapt to women in an effort for real equality?
Via Tom Mallory, COO and co-founder, OpenBuildings.com