By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The design for a proposed pedestrian bridge at the South Beach gateway on 5th Street over the MacArthur Causeway entrance was recently presented by developers, and will be before the Design Review Board in September.
The bridge is part of the Park on Fifth development from 500-700 Alton Road that includes a 44-floor residential tower, a commercial retail and restaurant center, and a three-acre public park deeded to the City.
The entire project is a partnership of David Martin of Terra Group and Russell Galbut of Crescent Heights, who hired Arquitectonica to lead design efforts for the façade. The project dubbed “The Miami Beach Canopy” and subtitled “Walking Under, Along, and On The Colors” was designed by French artist Daniel Buren.
Architect and chief curator for Arquitectonica Terence Riley said, “Buren transforms the space using the simplest forms – color and pattern. In this sense, the work is truly universal. You don’t need to be in the art world, know the history of art, you don’t have to be an expert, you don’t even have to speak French.”
The bridge would rise 40 feet from the ground to the top of the enclosure and span 158 feet long for the section that crosses 5th Street, according to Melissa Berthier, Miami Beach spokeswoman. The budget for the project is $10 million, according to the city.
Not everyone is in love with the design though, Howard Brayer, a volunteer guide for the Miami Design Preservation League shared his personal opinion. “I like the overall design of the bridge […] The one thing I do not like are the bright colored glass panels. On the exterior they are too bright and look like pieces of candy.”
In terms of the shape, Brayer said, “I do not think it adds to the Art Deco aesthetic of the city, but I don’t think that is a problem, given the location of the bridge. There are other modern structures in Miami Beach that I think add to the character of the city that don’t relate to Art Deco (e.g. the 1111 Lincoln parking garage, the New World Center).”
“I love it,” said Commissioner Michael Gongora of the design which was the second one presented to the commission after another in May. “Daniel Buren is world famous for public art installations and adds something different to the Miami Beach palette.”
“It’s better than world class,” said Mayor Dan Gelber. “This is going to be really a defining feature of the City.”
So far the city Commissioners have unanimously endorsed the design, but it will be before the Design Review Board in September.
Joanna Jimenez of Opes Real Estate Group admitted, “I think it does its purpose of welcoming guest to the vibrant city we are.”