Architecture on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

After arriving in Miami Beach and checking into my hotel, I decided to hit the streets first and just walk for a bit, to get a feel for the area on foot. I'm certainly used to being around plenty of tall and interesting buildings in NYC, but there was something about Mid Beach and the northern end of South Beach that felt more dense with tall building after tall building, as you can see below.

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views of tall hotel buildings on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach

Everybody knows about the famous Art Deco buildings of Miami Beach, but from my starting point of Mid Beach, there wasn't much Art Deco around here ... but still plenty of interesting architecture. I was walking down Collins Avenue, heading south towards South Beach, and here's some of the buildings that I saw.

This building, below left, is actually a parking garage! It's named "Faena Park," and is a state-of-the-art parking structure with street level retail, three levels of parking and a penthouse event space. Why is referred to as "state-of-the-art" parking? Because they have a mechanical system with parking lifts that allows them to stack 2 cars per parking space!

It sits alongside this next building, below right, named "Faena Forum," which has several event spaces, including two exhibition halls, an amphitheater, and business meeting rooms. Both of these buildings are designed by the architectural firm OMA, which includes prominent architects such as Shohei Shigematsu, Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, Reinier de Graaf, Iyad Alsaka, Chris van Duijn, Jason Long, and Managing Partner-Architect David Gianotten.

view of Faena Park in Miami Beach

view of the Faena Forum in Miami Beach

There was this other building across the street, which was surrounded by a bright red wall covered with references to famous art historical masterpieces (more on that below), and my first impression of it was that it was an old building that was being restored. But in fact I'm now learning that it's a new construction also by OMA as part of the "Faena District" and will eventually be a luxury condo development called "Faena Versailles Classic." From what I can gather, it's been put on hold for a few years, with talk of maybe turning it into a hotel instead, but at any rate, I think you can see from the two pictures below that it's a really cool architectural design.

view of Faena Versailles under construction in Miami Beach

detail view of the Faena Versailles under construction in Miami Beach

I got a kick out of looking closely at the red wall around the property, seen at the bottom of the picture above left, and in the two images below. How many famous art works can you spot in the two pictures below? Below left I see: Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain," a Keith Haring baby, Edvard Munch's Scream face, Jean-Michel Basquiat's Crown (on the Scream head), and part of a Picasso figure from Guernica. Below right we have the Venus of Willendorf and Michelangelo's David.

view of Faena construction wall with famous artworks as drawings

drawings of Venus of Willendorf and Michelangelo's David in Miami Beach

More from my exploration of Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, coming soon.

This is the conclusion of Part 2 of The Arts Adventurer in Miami Beach; check out Part 1 here.

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