at design miami/ 2016, french architect jean nouvel has revealed more information about his first project in miami — monad terrace. located on the west side of miami beach, overlooking biscayne bay and downtown, the scheme sees 59 individually designed waterfront residences positioned around a man-made lagoon. dubbed ‘the reflection machine’, the project provides brilliant light, while private outdoor space is sheltered by climbing gardens.
jean nouvel’s design unites two narrow structures — one 14 stories high, the other seven stories — to form a single elongated site. clad with translucent and porous metallic shields, monad terrace’s honeycomb sawtooth façade captures, diffuses, and reflects incoming light, simultaneously framing views and providing privacy. a swimming pool, in addition to the lagoon, draws the feeling of biscayne bay deep into the heart of the property.
all images courtesy of JDS development
speaking at design miami/ 2016, nouvel explained the project in more detail: ‘we have a particular strategy, because I decided to play with the poetry of the place. the site runs east to west, so the building is a lens. the façade has a semi-reflective skin — a bit like a fish skin with scales. from the outside you see only abstract movement and shadow.’
the lagoon, a giant infinity pool standing at the center of the scheme, functions as a naturally filtered ecosystem hosting native landscaping. ‘from the beginning — and always — it has been important to me to put the spirit of place in all my work. here in miami, I wanted to create a building that is like the reflection of the sun on the water,’ explains nouvel.
flora, such as spanish moss and tillandsia, cascades downwards from the rooftop terraces, reducing solar heat, and offering additional privacy and character to each of the 59 homes. ‘when you arrive in miami from france, it is a jungle!’, continues nouvel. ‘I tried to plan for the presence of vegetation. I see the vegetation as an architectural material that decorates the building’.
interior spaces are 10-feet high, with wood flooring throughout
upon arrival, residents and visitors enter a lobby complete with a double-height canopy installation of reflective panels and light-filtered foliage screens. from here, framed views are provided of the adjacent lagoon and bay. individual residences encourage outdoor living, while interior spaces are 10-feet high, with wood flooring. bespoke kitchens have also been designed by jean nouvel with custom mirrored honeycomb glass cabinets and brushed bronze accents.
on-site amenities include: a 116-foot swimming pool and hot tub overlooking biscayne bay, a café and juice bar, a fitness and wellness center, a residents’ lounge, a concierge and 24-hour lobby attendant, full service valet parking, and even bicycles and paddle boards.
the lagoon is a giant infinity pool situated at the center of the scheme
during the event, jean nouvel also elaborated on how he sees the role of the architect: ‘the character of the architecture is the job of the architect. the building must say something and be something — and be somewhere, not just anywhere. my buildings are very different. a lot of people say that I have no (particular) style, but my style is to answer the situation.
‘emergency is very often the ending of architecture, because everything is done very quickly,’ continued nouvel. ‘I think it is important that all the main decisions are done by real architects, a real architect is a poet and a humanist. I think it is important to have a general saying that architecture is useful for everyone, not just for the architect.’