Thursday, December 9, 2010

No Longer "Live" from Art Basel Miami Beach -- The W Hotel Opens up the Ocean

The W Hotel and Residences (Costas Kondylis & Partners, 2008) is a very nice addition to the Miami Beach waterfront. It continues a long tradition of buildings with windows or balconies angled to capture more of an ocean view (which is to the right in this photo). A notable example of this type was the Americana Hotel (recently demolished) in Bal Harbour by Morris Lapidus. What would otherwise be a relatively simple glass box is made more three-dimensional with an overlaid pattern of extruded concrete rectangles.

The W replaces and improves upon an Holiday I
nn (which had a charm of its own). The older hotel effectively blocked access to the ocean from 23 Street. While there was a path from Collins Avenue to the beachwalk, the building occupied most of the lot and gave the impression of impermeability. The siting of the W opens up 23 Street, at least visually, east of Collins (see diagram, below). This invites passers by to look for, and find, a way to the ocean. Very nice.

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