a residential development designed by asymptote architecture has broken ground in miami. named ‘missoni baia’, the tower contains 249 residences across 57 floors. the project’s architecture references the works of american minimalist sculptors such as sol lewitt and donald judd, while on-site amenities include a bayfront lounge with a pool overlooking the water, one of miami’s largest spas, and an elevated tennis court.

 

to learn more about the project, designboom spoke with architect hani rashid, who founded asymptote with lise anne couture in 1989. read the interview in full below, where rashid explains what he and his team set out to achieve with the project, and how the design responds to the specific context of miami.


missoni baia is located along miami’s biscayne bay
image courtesy of missoni baia (also main image)

 

 

designboom (DB): can you please start by explaining the brief from the client, and what you wanted to achieve with your design?

 


hani rashid (HR): we were asked to design a luxury residential tower that would be set into the larger miami context of high rise towers as somewhat of a foil. with our client, vladislav doronin, who is a sophisticated art collector and the owner of the luxury brand aman resorts, we agreed to develop a design that would be timeless, that would stand out in the miami context not through a gratuitous and overly expressive formal approach, but rather be inspired by the beauty of minimal sculpture and art.


a landscaped drive winds past the parking garage to the condominium entrance
image courtesy of missoni baia

 

 

HR (continued): situated on a spectacular site fronting directly on biscayne bay, we aimed to create a building that would be sophisticated but not trendy, that would be prominent on the skyline through the precise etching of an elegant profile against an urbanistically noisy backdrop. in a city where competition is at the level of formal gamesmanship, branding and marketing driven designs, often at the expense of quality, we held fast to an approach to architecture that would withstand these forces.


looking upwards at the tower’s geometric façade
image courtesy of missoni baia

 

 

DB: in what ways does your design respond to the specific context of miami and the artworks of josef albers, donald judd, and sol lewitt?

 


HR: albers, lewitt, judd and others such as fred sandback, agnes martin, etc. developed a uniquely american position with respect to mathematically inspired and instigated works. these artists, and others such as jesus soto (venezuela), were very much in our minds as we designed this project. the challenge was for us to develop a tall tower on biscayne bay that would stand out against an otherwise cacophonic collection of buildings that make up the fast changing miami skyline.


the design is partly inspired by the artworks of josef albers, donald judd, and sol lewitt
image courtesy of missoni baia

 

 

HR (continued): we were interested in working with a limited palette of materials and minimal geometric manipulations to create a pristine sculpted form that would make evident the constantly changing light and atmosphere of miami. in other words, a pure sculpted architecture devoid of ‘flourishes’ influenced by what we perceive as the timeless beauty of the impressive works created by the above mentioned artists. through the design of pristine glass volumes that are set within a 650’ high (198m) structural frame we created a demure yet bold and significant presence. 


the development includes a bayside terrace and pool
image courtesy of missoni baia

 

 

DB: what does luxury design mean to you? in what ways are you able to convey a sense of luxury with a project such as this one?

 

HR: luxury, as lise anne couture often refers to it, is something that offers absolutely ‘no resistance’ or is ‘friction free’. that goes for objects as much as it does for experiences and can be translated to architecture as well. the building’s ‘luxury’ aspects are not as most would think, i.e. solely high end materials, bespoke finishes, custom fixtures, etc. rather the luxury here is that of the architecture’s ability to inspire and to enrich experience. with private elevator access, interior spaces that are contiguous with large outdoor living spaces, and large expanses of full height glass overlooking multiple orientations we aimed to create glass villas in the sky.


a porte-cochere with valet parking welcomes residents and guests
image courtesy of missoni baia

 

 

DB: what kind of atmosphere did you want to establish within the building itself? what differentiates the building from other high-rise towers in the region?

 

HR: our goal was to create expansive and inspiring environments through maximum transparency and the design of interior living spaces that flowed seamlessly to the outdoors. these not only enabled a continual experience of the ever changing sky, but also the play of light on the surrounding bodies of water as well as the expansive views of the city and the horizon beyond. the architectural aspects of the buildings interiors and spaces all celebrate in one way or another the diverse beauty of miami that can be experienced year round and at any time of day. 


lise anne couture and hani rashid, founding partners of asymptote architecture
image © jean-francois jaussaud / luxproductions

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