SOUTH POINTE PARK+PIER
South Pointe Park and Pier is a complete makeover of a derelict park in Miami Beach, FL. The oceanfront context offered substantial design opportunities: expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Miami skyline, adjacency to lively residential neighborhoods, and direct access to both the bayfront and beachfront. However, the previous program amenities and design quality of the park required substantial intervention to capitalize on these assets and make the park a vibrant and successful place. The plan included a grand esplanade"Cut Walk" along Government Cut, a 2-acre beach dune restoration area, children’s playground landscape, and a 4,000 square foot park pavilion, all anchored within a dramatic, serpentine landform that provides elevated, dramatic views of the ocean. The overall structure of South Pointe Park links it to its varied edge conditions – urban streetscape, beach promenade and cruise ship passageway. Within the park, this organizational structure creates a varied and flexible structure that supports a range of activities and experiences.
The Park’s location bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay presented many environmental challenges to the Park’s design. The immediate adjacency to these sensitive environments required extensive design consideration and coordination with local and state agencies to ensure compliance of the planned park improvements with the stringent coastal and environmental permitting requirements. Buildings and structures were designed to safely accommodate coastal storms and hurricane forces. Grading and earthwork plans were addressed construction along the beach, which included the use of indigenous limerock for subgrade construction and beach-quality sand in areas of beach dune restoration. Custom site lighting was designed so as to balance site safety while also ensuring protection of marine turtle reproduction. Eighteen custom cutwalk pylons were designed to provide a signature night-time experience and announce the point of passage to cruise ships. Staggered along the 2,000 linear foot cutwalk, the pylons also signify the annual phenomena of sea turtles retuning to the beach to nest. Each year during the six month turtle nesting season, all the pylon lights change color and illuminate the promenade with amber long-wavelength light, which does not interfere with turtle hatchlings and their migration back to the ocean.
Given the project’s immediate adjacency to the Ocean and the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, a central focus of the project design was the application of sustainable design strategies to have minimal impact on the sensitive coastal hydrology. The rainwater management system includes an integrated system of collection and harvesting. Nearly all the rainwater that falls on the 22-acre site is harvested and retained on site. To address the seasonal sub-tropical rainfalls of south Florida, site grading was utilized to direct surface flow during small rain events into large areas of native plantings, which allow for infiltration and to minimize reliance on traditional drainage structures. During 25-year or greater storm events, lawn areas serve as temporary detention basins that replenish deep aquifers (through injection wells) and thereby prevent stormwater from entering the Ocean, Bay or Inlet.
The planting design concept reflects the park’s various program uses while creating a simple and powerful visual language to define these park spaces. To achieve an immediate visual impact, over 450 existing trees and palms were transplanted to an on-site nursery then relocated once major construction was completed. The park’s active recreation zones were planted with Seashore Paspalum, a drought and salt tolerant grass, and embraced by an informal massing of native Sabal Palms and Coconut Palms. Along the ocean side, a series of man-made dunes and coquina shell paths lead through masses of native/xeric coastal vegetation, including over 50,000 Sea Oats, Railroad Vine, Gaillardia, Necklace Pod and Yucca species.
An acute design sensibility is critical to getting work built to achieve design intent. For two years I worked directly with the City of Miami Beach as the primary Owner’s representative, providing design and construction administration services for the 19-acre South Pointe Park while managing a complex team of local and national subconsultants. My work included all aspects of on-site construction administration for a design-bid-build project delivery. My work also included material selections both on site and off-site and working with lighting designers and manufacturers for custom lighting fixtures for a $21 million, high-profile project in arts and design-saavy Miami Beach. A highlight was providing a guided tour to Miami Beach resident actor Sir Michael Caine.
City of Miami Beach, FL
Hargreaves Associates, Project manager, construction administration. 2007-2009