Terra Group + Rene Gonzalez Architect recently unveiled their design for GLASS, a new residential tower composed of 10 full-floor units located at 120 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. The 18-story, all-glass building is located in the South of Fifth neighborhood, which has become, over the past decade, one of the most expensive destinations for luxury high-rise living in Miami Beach. Delicate and sensorial, the design of GLASS is a considered a response to its setting in Miami Beach, specifically intended to allow one to experience the surrounding natural landscape. More images and architects' description after the break.
With a clear strategy to utilize iconic design as a differentiator, David and Pedro Martin of Terra Group tapped Gonzalez to design his first residential tower. Conceived as a site-specific structure that responds to the natural environment, GLASS will be the newest addition to a prestigious neighborhood that has dramatically changed the definition of contemporary luxury residential development on the southern tip of Miami Beach. It is also the last tower that will be erected in the South of Fifth area, due to zoning restrictions, and is therefore garnering heightened attention from potential buyers.
"The design for GLASS had to be out of the box, yet understanding of the context and history of South of Fifth and Miami Beach," said David Martin, president and COO of Terra Group. "I couldn't think of anyone better than Rene to execute such an intimate building. He has impeccable style and an understanding of both interiors and exteriors, which not many architects possess. We're proud to have collaborated on his first residential high rise."
Gonzalez, who specializes in creating memorable architectural spaces and projects of various scales and typologies, approached the design of GLASS aiming to reflect and capture the natural landscape of sand, sea, and sky. The building dematerializes as it rises, with its exterior almost disappearing into the atmosphere and its compositional use of fritted, patterned glass. Light and ethereal, GLASS is a response to its site, context, and environment, maintaining the essence of place through its architectural design, its materials, surface textures, and tonal color.
The building's entrance is an immersive environment - at once luxurious and elemental, with natural light and areas with water that evoke the beach. Referencing the visual effect of waves meeting the shore and receding into the sand, the porous Coquina stone, which contains fragments of shell and coral, becomes gradually interspersed with small rectangles of smooth, blue Macauba quartzite that reaches a greater density at the elevator, signaling the transition between sand and sea. The pool level is all about water. Framing a view of the Atlantic Ocean from the deck, tropical vegetation moves in the breeze. A video installation showing patterns of light underwater animates the ceiling of the pool lobby.
Just as the gradient color shifts from deep to shallow water, or the color of the sky changes as the eye travels upward from the horizon line, the experience of ascent within the building communicates this idea of movement. Conceived as an experiential space, the elevator contains an interactive installation by artist Ivan Toth Depeña, programmed to express the transition from water to sky with luminous, enlarged pixels of light and color patterns at each level.
The tower itself conveys the qualities of the sky. Open floor plans with 360-degree views and expansive terraces with sliding doors blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space. Inside, the ceilings of each of the ten exclusive units echo this natural element with grayscale tones, darker at the lower floors and lightest at the level of the penthouse.
Mirrored walls at every entry reflect an expansive view of the ocean. Indicating the shift between night and day, each foyer also contains a custom ceiling combining a translucent latex surface and a programmable lighting system. The density of lights is carefully choreographed at each level, evoking the star-lit canopy of both urban and rural skies.