“The Fountain” is the winning design for the $800 million Signature Bridge in downtown Miami, selected by FDOT at a meeting last week.
A description of the concept from a winning team led by Archer Western- de Moya Joint Venture:
The Fountain concept was inspired by Miami’s world renowned status as the center of the Americas. Miami has been influenced in its development and growth by various regions throughout the United States, the Carribean, as well as Central and South America due to its position as the Gateway City. In 1930, Pan American Airways established Miami as its worldwide headquarters with its terminal at the current City Hall, and provided the initial links that opened up the potential of Miami’s waterfront to all of the Americas. The Fountain’s design symbolizes these influences similar to an “airline map” depicting the curved travel paths to and from the central city of Miami.
The Fountain was aptly named to signify Miami’s connection to the water that began several thousand years ago with the Tequesta Indians and continues to this day with the tens of millions of visitors that make Miami their warm weather destination for the sun, beach, cruises, vibrant nightlife, and culture. The bridge is designed using contextual metaphors drawn from the region’s tropical and urban environments. The overall vision for this signature bridge is to emphasize the essence of Miami as a center for the Arts, with this structure as its nexus, making it a focal point of civic life for all Miamians, and what will become the heart of Miami for our children and grand-children.
The Fountain Bridge also provides vast open spaces below the bridge allowing for the development of our proposed Heritage Walk. Heritage Walk memorializes Miami’s history including the original Tequesta Indian inhabitants, Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler, the original African American settlers to Overtown, the Cuban immigration, and Miami’s status as a global city with limitless potential through culture, art, and bold imagery.
The concept of an abstract fountain and its arching forms is symbolic of the area’s culture as people from across the Americas come together as one. The connections created both in form and function with this structure will facilitate the full integration of neighbors from all directions, meeting in the central plaza, as the physical and psychological barriers dividing the surrounding environment are torn down and replaced with a vision based on unification.
The fountain concept is developed in height and scale to transition this destination place from the high rises to the south and the Performing Arts Center to the north. Fountains in plazas are used as urban catalysts varying in scale in civic centers around the world. The concept of creating a public gathering space around this symbolic fountain gives greater emphasis to this location by using its structure as an urban pivot, and creating a visual destination from multiple view points: cruise ships arriving to Miami and docked at PortMiami, airplanes arching to the world overhead, vehicular traffic on the north/south and east/west axis of the bridge decks, and bicyclists and pedestrians from under the Viaduct.
Color changing LEDs would be mounted along the arches and cables, with a state of the art control system allowing for a “never ending array” of lighting scenes.
The proposal includes elevating the bridge significantly higher than the minimum requested by FDOT to allow for a 1.2-mile, 55-acre public park underneath called Heritage Trail.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2017 and could last for five years.
The timeline could be delayed by a bid protest from the second-ranked team, which lost a competition by just half a point. A formal bid protest is expected, according to the Herald.