Miami, The Big Orange, has always had a connected history with The Big Apple. Perhaps the most obvious is the amount of flights between La Gaurdia and Miami International, which means a constant flow of thoughts back and forth between the fashion capitols of the East Coast.
Now the two cities have another commonality. New York City has the Hearst Building, built by architects Foster and Partners, of London. Miami is sprouting a green core; with COR as its first green high-rise. This is all good with the mayor of Miami, Manny Diaz. Diaz sees the future of Miami’s success in melding new green concept architecture and development with the attitudes and technologies possible to keep Miami’s unique beauty a place of tropical joys, thriving on less dependency of old school energy sources, avoiding the smog and many dehumanizing factors that have occurred when other cities have become world class contenders. Diaz is a strong advocate of enforcing incentives for Miami and in Florida incentives for building green. This is similar to the Florida Keys now. Down there a point system rewards you for building and incorporating issues such as using cisterns rather then relying on water piped down from Miami-Dade County.
Planting the seeds for this high profile project is American Miami-based architect Chad Oppenheim of Oppenheim Architecture + Design. Working with Ysreal Seinuk, a favorite engineering collaborator, and energy consultant Buro Happold, Oppenheim has come up with a 25-story $45 million dollar architectural groundbreaker. It’ll be located at 4035 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Florida 33137. You can find realtors on the web selling spaces in it, even though ground was just broke July of 2007.
He’s growing a building here that is not shy to show its connection to the earth. As Oppenheim says in interviews, “for examples, with the wind turbines on the roof, it looks like a green building – whereas so many other sustainable projects look like generic buildings.” In fact, just one glance at one of the simulated photos of the building and people are stopping to learn more because of the beauty of its open “skin”. The buildings exterior is an eye-opening scattering of circular cutouts. Not just a decorative element even that hot and groovy new circular look to the Miami horizon has an earth friendly reason; it’s actually more efficient to have diagonally clad griding rather then vertical.
That’s what it’s about - beauty, efficiency and eco-friendliness. Like Oppenheim’s building CUBE where he redefined the box, COR is new, hip, and “un-square” growing up like a tropical coconut palm, sleek, beautiful and sustaining. COR includes photovoltaic panels, and solar heated hot water. That visually interesting structure provides a mass that is insulating and allows the temperatures to rise and fall efficiently inside; boasting gardens and shade so that residents can use the space to actually enjoy the special natural ambience of the of the city they have chosen to live in, bright skies, impressive night views, far off thunderheads and breezes blowing to the beaches.
Making a building green it makes sense to include in the a broader shape of community, keeping people near the things they need rather then cause them to get into a car adding to traffic and fuel uses. So far there are offices, a gym, café and retail store waiting to join this COR lifestyle. The building is going to be urban without a doubt, but will feature sustainable details like bamboo floorings and long lasting materials such as stainless steel home appliances.
Summing up his thoughts on how buildings like COR can be built and be not just environmental successes but financial triumphs as well, it appears that he agrees with Mayor Diaz when he says, “As architects, it is our responsibility to lead the way, but it ultimately takes great clients to follow the idea through. No one wants to pollute their environment or do something bad. Everyone wants to do green, but it all boils down to cost.” In COR’S case lessening the marketing costs by creating a building that almost markets itself. In Miami’s case the government providing incentives for architects working on eco-friendly projects.
Hopefully with the Apple and the Orange going green and doing it with aplomb, positive publicity, and fiscal success, the idea will grow. Architects and their clients will see the need and the market for innovation that returns two desirable shapes of green - greenbacks and green cities.
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