marina lofts in fort lauderdale by BIG architects marina lofts in fort lauderdale by BIG architects
feb 04, 2013

marina lofts in fort lauderdale by BIG architects

‘marina lofts in fort lauderdale’ by BIG architects, florida, united statesimage © BIG architects



set to be sited in the burgeoning new river area of fort lauderdale, florida, BIG‘s ‘marina lofts’ have already proved provocative. while there is a recognized potential for the 1000 unit condominium to become an iconic part of the south florida skyline, the building is the first of its kind in the fragmented industrial gap along riverwalk park. envisioned as a hybrid landscape, the building incorporates an architecture of human movement, with the overarching goal of creating an urban destination. the first two towers have visually continuous tessellated facades save for the jagged ‘break’ down the middle, allowing for a wide public promenade to stitch together the spaces between the buildings with the presently little-used waterfront area. this ‘canyon’ is a conceptual response to a compelling urban issue– how to create a dense urban area while opening up the neighborhood to the existing strengths of the site, namely boating activities, greenery and ideal waterscapes. 



on august 21, 2013 fort lauderdale, FL city commission approved the $150 million marina lofts apartment complex to be built on the south side of the new river.



the mixed-use towers aim to bring the downtown’s urbanism to the water, while integrating river activityimage © BIG architects



approach to the ‘canyon’, arguably the gestalt of the architectureimage © BIG architects



modules ‘missing’ from the third tower are used below as a bridge over a water basin image © BIG architects



the modular bridge extends the promenade image © BIG architects



 while the housing towers are designed to be the spark for city life in downtown fort lauderdale, largely seen as the quieter counterpart to miami, the designed ‘crack’ also allows for flexibility in apartment configurations and sizes since the units no longer necessarily adhere to a structural grid. the angled faces of the building can be used to a tenant’s advantage in creating ultimate privacy or making use of the fantastic waterfront views. the three-phase project makes for a third building that, while lacking a provocative ‘crack’, contains an area of ‘functional erosion’ as well as access for boat storage. the topmost northeast corner of the building is ‘missing’ some of its modular units, which serve the dual purpose of creating a cascading skylight in the building and, on the ground, creating a pedestrian walkway over an existing water basin. the addition of retail space at the street level will work in conjunction with existing boat storage that would enhance activity beneath the ‘legs’ of the eastern building. this ‘cave’ structure is critical in maintaining waterway development, seeing as the existing water taxi station is sited at the entrance of the third tower. to further activate connections to the river, the station will be integrated with pavilions and shade structures.


indeed, ‘marina lofts’ is in a position to answer the question of environmental responsibility in urban development and further questions the extent to which existing entities can enhance development-oriented architecture. while characterized by ample setbacks and greenery, the design has been at the center of a controversial discussion surrounding the displacement of the largest albizia saman, or rain tree, in the state of florida. the sixty foot high and one-hundred and twenty seven foot wide tree is protected by the city’s commission and is thought of as a unique specimen in the whole of the united states. boasting a trunk twenty feet in circumference, BIG has worked with developer asi cymbal to ensure that the rain tree is the centerpiece of a park along the promenade.




approach from the street, view of the legacy treeimage © BIG architects



green courtyards weave waterfront and cityscape image © BIG architects



balconies at the split of the structureimage © BIG architects



concept diagramimage © designboomimages courtesy of BIG architects

  • The design is very modern. But to people who are afraid of heights, they wouldn not want to be here. :D!

    Rebecca R. Holmes says:
  • creative and a little change of our living . It seems that can make more oppotunity for people to communicate.

    YP perice says:

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