Marina Blue, the “swanky,” 60 story residential skyscraper rising along Biscayne Boulevard across the future site of Museum Park has issues, major issues. The 600+ foot tower, designed by world renowned Arquitectonica is just one of the latest blunders to rise in our city. Now please don’t be confused, but we’re not arguing about its height, size, or density but rather how this building was designed to interact with our urban streetscape. It’s because of the inadequacies of its design that many Miami activists confuse height and density as the real culprits behind much of our urban problems…

Take a look at these pictures, found on Skyscrapercity and see if you can spot any of the major issues:

Incomplete building? Designed well from 3 angles, the Marina Blue design team apparently fell asleep when working on the western facade. A blank, exposed backside will greet visitors viewing the Miami skyline from the west, a stark contrast from the stunning blue and green glass facade facing the Museums and bay. Another Arquitectonica and Hyperion development building, Blue, up in the design district suffers from the same 3 sided design syndrome…

Who needs public transit when we have enough space for every car? Logically, the best thing to place facing a metromover station is the entrance of the 12 story parking garage with enough space to handle at least the 2 cars each of the 516 units owners will have. Forget creating usable retail space fronting the metromover, the patron’s of this building will likely be arriving at the valet station anyway, it’s not like they have any other reasonable option anyway…

Of course, if we aren’t going to plan for the use of public transit then why would we expect pedestrians to access the building either? Beyond the absurd canopy placement, the 3 foot elevated platform will completely decimate any hopes of creating a vibrant and pedestrian friendly boulevard. The second picture shows just exactly how much width was provided for sidewalk cafes and activity, none of which will be possible thanks to the blank wall and guardrails which are placed accordingly to keep Marina Blue residents and visitors in.

A Couple of reminders of what we should have been attempting to do with the redevelopment along the Biscayne boulevard corridor:

Note: This picture is still prominently displayed on the DDA website…

I can’t help but think that for every step we take forward (dense urban living in an easily accessible location) we take two steps backwards (building enough parking to house a dealership and failing to adequately integrate the building with the surroundings…)

11 Responses to Urban Design Malpractice: Marina Blue

  1. KidBass says:

    This is exactly what I talk about almost on a daily basis to the people I come across. So many buildings in Downtown and yet you can’t even walk down the street and do grocery shopping. Miami always takes two steps back.

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  2. Adam says:

    I can’t wait to eat in that sidewalk cafe after I get off the street car and ride my bike up the tree-lined bike lane.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad this was posted about MarinaBlue.
    This building always made me sick whenever I saw renderings showing the western façade. And this problem isn’t present only in MarinaBlue. =(

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  4. Anonymous says:

    You are seriously over reacting. I could see people walking in and out of there with simplicity and whats wrong with having tables on the elevated section as well as the large sidewalk!??!!?
    I walked by last week and thought it looked great.

    Now whats really worring me is the boulevards median, what up with it? are they gonna put trees there or what?

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  5. Dave says:

    Notice the first Back Bay picture in the post above and see hedges and railings separating the restaurants from the sidewalk. Also notice Back Bay generally has building openings a good 6 feet above the sidewalk level. Of course also notice the shade trees actually on the sidewalk and not next to the buildings where they are useless.

    Either way, the lower Biscayne buildings like Everglades and 50Bisc have done a better job and I see that area being more “used” by pedestrians anyways than the relatively isolated Bisc Wall area, at least until the museums get into full swing (even then they will be separated by wide Biscayne Blvd from the Bisc Wall).

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  6. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    Dave- Good call, however, look at the the differences in building height, fronting street width difference and sidewalk width as well as availability of on street parking to serve as buffer for the sidewalk/street in the Back Bay, shade tree placement…etc…You’re right, the buildings closer to downtown have done a better job at integrating the building with the surroundings, its a shame the Biscayne Wall had to build such ridiculous buffers…

    Anon- Overreacting or not, my article is based on pure fact and statistical evidence behind many successful urban neighborhoods. I’m not at all suggesting that the sidewalk will be a complete failure; rather noting the fact that poor urban design will make such street life interaction far more difficult. You’d have to agree the parking entrance facing the mover stop is downright impractical…Placing trees in the median will only serve to “beautify” the drive along Biscayne Boulevard but will do little to affect the pedestrian realm…

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  7. James Wilkins says:

    A possible solution to the issue would be for the cafe to have an upper tier and a lower tier at sidewalk level.

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  8. SJ says:

    As a resident to be at Marina Blue I’m very happy with the privacy of the building. These are huge condo’s not 3 story hotels on ocean drive. It will be nice to have restaurants and bars along biscayne but at the same time I dont want to walk out of my building to crowds of people. Security and maintance will also be better this way. I do agree with the back side, they could have done a better job with that, but I’ve also drive past Blue a few times and it doesnt look terrible. Just could have been better.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Ignorant assholes like you are the reason this world is facing detrimental environmental issues. This website is disgusting, well at least the inhumane structures you are advertising are tall enough that only the first few stories will be under water in the future, but they may be too tall to withstand the next hurricane. Have a beautiful day driving around in your two cars and making an entirely negative contribution to society.

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  10. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    Did you read a single word, or just look at the pretty pictures?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    you people have no idea what you are talking about… this is the best building on biscayne blvd… it’s iconic and well designed…

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