Structural Engineering Award of Excellence: One Thousand Museum, Miami

William O’Donnell
Managing Principal
DeSimone Consulting Engineers, Miami

Luis Ramirez
DeSimone Consulting Engineers, New York City

A Sleek Signature for Biscayne Boulevard

One Thousand Museum (OTM), located in downtown Miami, merges fluid architectural expression with advanced engineering solutions, and is the manifestation of new research in high-rise construction. Situated on Biscayne Boulevard, the building—nicknamed the “Scorpion Tower”—rises above Museum Park, a 30-acre (12-hectare) urban green space that houses the Pérez Art Museum and the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. The flowing, structural frame wraps a slender building volume, connecting tower to podium through one continuous, unifying feature, thus avoiding the typical typology of a tower resting on a base. The exoskeleton emerges from the podium as if carved from it. The bracing is further textured by the lower and upper floor terraces and the podium, which includes even thicker columns that splay out and round off at the corners. Rising sinuously over the body of the tower, the matte, cementitious exoskeleton that envelops the folded glass façade creates a stark contrast that intensifies the interplay of form, reflection and shadow, animating the tower throughout Miami’s continuously changing light conditions.

The top level includes an aquatic center, leisure area, and event space. At grade, the tower is ringed by pools and gardens with subtle access to several stories of parking. The interior cladding of the lobby, communal spaces, and living units each embody the futuristic, uninterrupted, curvaceous style of the exterior. Flooring, fixtures, lighting, and ceiling elements flow together in a sleek, signature design. With its structure at the perimeter, the interior floor plates are almost column-free, allowing maximum variation in floor plans. The structure is not a diagrid, but its curving lines do allow for diagonal bracketing that is rigid, stiff, and hurricane-resistant.

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