Slab, corridorSlab, gallery-access
Arquitectonica | Miami, USA | 1978
Image of Atlantis
View from Biscayne Bay

Address1989 Brickell Ave.
Building TypeSlab, gallery access
Number of Dwellings96
Date Built1978
Dwelling Types1,2,& 3 BR flats
No. Floors20
Section Typeflats; two story duplexes at podium level
Exterior Finish
stucco, glass & aluminum
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary ServicesHealth club, pools, tennis courts, parking

The Atlantis was the last of four luxury residential apartment buildings designed by Arquitectonica that were built along the Miami waterfront in the 1970’s and 80’s. The building is sited with the long axis perpendicular to the waterfront so that one end fronts Brickell Avenue and the other, which is semicircular, overlooks Biscayne Bay. A prismatic, mirrored, glass box eighteen floors high sets upon a two-level landscaped podium overlooking the water. A 37 foot cube has been cut from the building between the 12th and 17th’f floors creating the “Sky Court”, an open terrace that is equipped with a blue Jacuzzi, a palm tree, a red spiral stair, red balcony, and an undulating yellow wall. This slightly vertiginous space, a cameo stage set of iconic elements from the Miami landscape, offers a view of Biscayne Bay and the Miami waterfront. While roof terraces have long been part of the Modernist program, the jardin suspendu of Le Corbusier, for instance, the Sky Court takes this idea to a whole new level of abstraction and interest. Other similar examples of this notion of a void cut from the mass of a building include the “urban windows”, used by Ricardo Bofill in Walden 7 (Barcelona 1975), and two recent buildings by MVRDV, the Sanchinaro slab (Madrid 2004) and Parkrand (Amsterdam, 2007).

The missing cube from the building has been set askew on the terrace to one side of the building and serves as a health club. A huge blue grid, framing three-story high squares is attached to the south side of the building providing sun control and creating a zone of balconies. Other attached geometric elements include an entrance canopy supported on four red columns, several cantilevered yellow balconies on the north facade, and the red triangular prism on the roof that hides the HVAC equipment. Part of the house that formerly occupied the site has been adapted as a clubhouse connecting the upper terrace to a lower pool terrace along the waterfront. The building entrance further develops the surrealist theme and is equipped with four round columns; one large decorated round column, a white marble triangular column, and a white marble fountain. The typical floor plan is organized with a narrow zone of stairs, elevators, and corridor along the corridor along the north wall, serving a row of one bedroom flats that open to balconies/brise soleil facing south. The rounded end is a zone of very large, 3 bedroom apartments that face the water and take up the full width of the building. As the last in the series, of Biscayne apartments, Atlantis demonstrates the steady evolution of Arquitectonica themes for the organization and architectural detailing of the speculative luxury condo slab building type in a unique waterfront location. The stock in trade for most residential buildings of this market at this time, the double-loaded, glass curtain wall slab, has been transformed both formally and environmentally using the inventive application of balconies, large-scaled, layered brise soleil and other sun control devices, the use of bold colors, and the design of terraces and roof gardens.

An aerial view of the south façade of the Atlantis was featured in the introduction to each episode in the popular television series “Miami Vice” that ran between 1984 and 1989. Along with the theme music by Jan Hammer and dynamic vignettes of the Miami landscape, the bright building was seen as an extension of Miami Beach Art Deco imagery that relied heavily on New Wave culture and music.

Dunlop, Beth, Arquitectonica, The American Institute of Architects Press, Washington D.C., 1991, pp. 36-45.

Yukio Futagawa, GA Document 7, , ed., A.D.A. EDTA, Tokyo, 1983, pp. 17-37.

Process Architecture 65, “Romantic Modernism: Arquitectonica”.

Process Architecture, Tokyo, 1986, pp. 43-53.

Progressive Architecture, Jan 1980.

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