[Re-blogged from Knight Blog] Brian Phillips, a licensed architect and a lecturer at PennDesign in Philadelphia, writes about a Miami urban prototype building that his firm, Interface Studio Architects, designed in collaboration with Townhouse Center. Knight Foundation supports the project. As part of an ongoing initiative to help Miami build vibrant, middle-scale urban neighborhoods, Knight Foundation sponsored my architecture firm, ISA, to design a Miami prototype building and make the plans downloadable for free. Just before the real estate bubble burst in 2008, we designed and built a project in Philadelphia called 100K House, a two-story town house prototype that costs only $100,000 to build and is certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. We used standard parts and local labor to create a small prototype that reflects a contemporary sensibility about urban living.
We brought that philosophy and know-how to designing a new prototype called Hi-Res Miami for the context and parameters of Miami: the geography, climate, regulations, materials, labor and market expectations. We collaborated with Townhouse Center to understand those needs and to organize several workshops with local stakeholders to critique the prototype design.
The result is a three-story prototype with exterior stairs that allows varying partitions and uses of the interior space. A typical Miami lot that is 50 feet wide can accommodate two of the prototypes side-by-side, a density that promotes the mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods that Miami lacks. Hi-Res Miami plans can be downloaded for free at Hi-Res website to encourage local developers to unlock the value of smaller parcels and to develop in smaller increments.
While we hope to see our exact design built somewhere in Miami, the main goal of Hi-Res Miami is to provoke discussion and inspire the local design and development community to seek alternative scales of investment, and to build variations on the theme. We look forward to Hi-Res Miami helping catalyze the city’s next vibrant urban neighborhoods.
Hi-Res Miami will be presented to the Miami community at a Little Havana Merchants Association meeting on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. at Mansini's Pizza House, 541 SW 12th Ave., Miami. The event is open to the public; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Hi-Res Miami presentations, visit the project's website.