Analysis of the 1111 Building
In Miami, FL, the building at 1111 Lincoln Road is an architectural marvel – much more so when one considers its utility as a parking garage. The Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron embarked on an experimental and innovative, if not entirely practical, way to make a parking garage aesthetically pleasing. Using elements of urbanism and other architectural practices, Herzog & de Meuron create a truly unforgettable building. This analysis paper will examine the effect the building has on its surroundings, the materials, history, circulation, and location of the building, detailing how these elements come together in this unique piece of architecture.
In the 1950s, Lincoln Road was a pantheon of business and commerce, a thriving market that soon saw a decline. Throughout the decades, it has undergone many transitions, from promenade to economic dovetailing, finally to a retail marketplace in the 1990s. In 2005, the SunTrust Bank building that formally stood at 1111 Lincoln Road was purchased by Robert Winnett, and he consulted Herzog & de Meuron in order to make an innovative new building to replace this structure. Thus, the current 1111 building was born as an extension of the SunTrust building and the parking garage that sat across from it (Broome, 2010).
The building is located on Lincoln Road, which is now a pedestrian row comprising of businesses, restaurants, art galleries and other landmarks. The Regal Cinema sits across from the 1111 building, which is also surrounded by bars and a concert hall. The Art Center South Florida sits there, and the Colony and Lincoln Theatre.
The materials used in the building are mainly concrete and glass; artificial light is minimal, lights placed on each of the exterior supporting beams to illuminate it at night, while natural light fills the space during the daytime. Class B concrete was used to create the slabs and the triangular columns, full of imperfections and pockmarks that allude to the simplicity of the buildings that surround it. Thin steel cable makes up the railings; this cable is so thin that it becomes nearly invisible when viewed from a distance. This allows it to seem much more open than it truly is, still achieving the effect set out by Herzog & de Meuron (Broome, 2010).
The concept of the free plan by Le Corbusier is one of the primary elements of this building – the load-bearing columns are separated from the walls; in fact there are no walls, the entire structure being held up by columns that connect the cast-in-place concrete slabs comprising the floor plates. There are six parking levels, as low as 8 feet and as high as 34 feet. Below the parking garage, there is a ground floor, which houses retail establishments; above the garage sites Wennett’s penthouse and a restaurant.
The building exhibits a tabula rasa aesthetic, with everything consisting of clean lines and angled shapes. The open face nature of it, with no walls shutting off the building from the outside world, creates a dramatic contrast with the closed-off buildings that surround it. The open space and contextual architecture is reminiscent of urbanism, with the diverse uses of the building (parking, shopping, eating, event space) making it a truly multipurpose structure (Broome, 2010).
Circulation is simple and open within the 1111 building; one can enter with their car at ground level and park at any one of the seven floors that are available for parking. The parking capacity for the building is 300 cars, and the car park site area is 27,000 square feet. Alternatively, unenclosed, sculptural stairs run through the center of the building, permitting panoramas of the entire building as one walks up or down it. There are destinations at both ends (the restaurant at the top, the retail stores at the bottom) giving sufficient reason to run the length of the building. There is another shopping center at the fifth floor, creating further pedestrian traffic and circulation; there are multiple places throughout the building that one can go. The open nature of the building leaves travel unrestricted. The rooftop restaurant can also be accessed by a new entry and open staircase, which is lit and positioned within the Suntrust building’s corner tower (Arcspace, 2010).
The effect that 1111 Lincoln Road has on its surroundings is small, but noticeable. Because it is open, it does not obstruct the skyline, allowing pedestrians and drivers to see the rest of the city while still noticing the collection of concrete slabs that comprises the 1111 building. This makes it look a lot more flimsy and thin than the rest of the buildings around it. The most noticeable difference between this building and the rest is that the others are much more conventional, closed-faced concrete buildings, making the 111 building seem slight in comparison (Goldberger, 2010).
At the same time, the 1111 building, like the others, is made of concrete and glass; the use of class B concrete connects it viscerally with its neighbors, but it uses these materials in a more interesting way. By opening up the entirety of the structure, with the exception of the ground floor shopping center, people outside can look in at the contents and people within the car park, which is unique to a structure that is meant to hide the cars from theft and cluttering of the landscape. With the 1111 building, however, cars are meant to be part of the architecture, each new vehicle becoming a vital component of the aesthetic that the designers intended (Goldberger, 2010).
In conclusion, the 1111 building provides a unique and innovative change in the surroundings of Lincoln Road while still maintaining a basic aesthetic connection in its materials. Turning the old SunTrust building into a thing of architectural beauty, the architects varied the height of each level and created uniquely angled walkways and columns that come together to form a unique piece that is flimsy in appearance but dynamic in design. All in all, the open space provided by the 1111 building is just the most prominent of many elements that make it stand out on this stretch of Miami road.
Arcspace. “Herzog & de Meuron – 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida.” Arcspace. N.p., 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.
Broome, Beth. “1111 Lincoln Road | Herzog & de Meuron.” Architecture Design for Architects. N.p., 1 June 2010. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.
Goldberger, Paul. “Herzog and de Meuronâ€™s 1111 Lincoln Road, in Miami.” The New Yorker. N.p., 9 Aug. 2010. Web. 11 Sept. 2011.