Miami: Faena

[Soundtrack: “Pictures of You” by The Cure *]

Another day, another parking garage that I’ve snuck into. That’s a strong choice of words considering that most parking garages are easily accessed. So many other buildings that I’ve written about, I have not been on the interior and what’s so joyful about parking lots is that it’s the opposite- I’ve been in almost all of them. That brings a smile to my face.

Of the area I would generally call something like the “Faena Corridor”, the Faena Parking Lot is not the building that is of note when you read the articles. It’s usually the hotel (which the paintings in the lobby are really worth stopping in for but just something in me refused to document any of the building) or Faena Forum the event venue (this one I read that OMA designed so I would be curious to go to an event). I made myself come to this Faena Corridor because I knew I wouldn’t be within walking distance again and I had to see if all the hype was worth it. [Ha! I just read up and it’s called the “Faena District”.]

But first, the Faena Bazaar.

A collection of shops with a well visited cafe below. I should tag these posts with the reasons why I love them (you know when I have the spare time to do that). Morning light, sunset light. Texture, shape. And in this case, an atrium. I liked the contrast between the solid block cut out and the fencing detail for the remaining of the “wall” surrounding the courtyard. I can close my eyes and remember the warmth of the day and imagine on a typical humid Florida day how much relief this atrium would provide. A cloudless sky, perfectly framed.

I didn’t walk a full circle on one of the upper floors along the atrium but it seems a little claustrophobic and not particularly inviting (they choose a deep blood red for the hallways)… and anyways I really wanted to get to the roof of this place. I had seen the building next door because of it’s eye catching exterior but I always appreciate being at eye level of part of a building that probably will never again have another human touch it since its construction. Maybe if lucky, one day, a graffiti artist will climb up and run their fingers against it…

I’ll say it again, but being in the space of these photos, its so important to convey the feeling of warmth that I was experiencing. I had been so cold the past 2 days (yes, I was in disbelief that the temperature would feel as cold as it said it would be- I was being too vain). I was so at peace.

So onto the parking lot we go- had to walk around the perimeter of the building to figure out where the door was to get in. For such an extravagant parking structure, I was surprised there wasn’t attention to some sort of lobby or entrance. But this parking lot truly is valet only- no person paying to park here would ever actually be in it? I’m shrugging here.

One door propped open- like they knew I was coming. Relishing in the fun of the unknown, and a minor trespass, like a child in a candy store or something, I loved the world around framed entirely by the lattice of circles. (Later reminded me of being in side the Institut du Monde Arabe.) If everyone looked through the lens of a perfect circle- would their perspective change?

I rejoiced at the sheer cost spent on the parking lot. As I’ve said, good, clever architecture is an expensive expenditure for any developer- and when that money is spent, and spent well- I have strong feelings of joy. Dunno people.

Parking lots have large swaths of uninterrupted planes of space and the soundscape is also worth noting. This parking lot was particularly quiet- that kind of silence is truly special.

Between these two buildings, the patterns and attention to the exterior design is worth noting for Miami. Miami is largely homogenous is certain areas- white flat tall buildings with balconies. That’s it. So this corridor is an oddity indeed- but a lovely one.

I’ll leave this post with an interior photo of the hotel restaurant because 1. at the top of the post I say how I don’t often get inside buildings and this exploration was unusual for sure and likely due to 2. which is that this hotel was a bit of a ghost town. Wandering around, outside and in, I kept wondering if someone would stop me to ask what the hell I was doing- but no one.

I was taking in what was clearly another no expenses spared selection of materials- the spaces themselves generally not photo worthy (next time I should focus on detail shots instead- note to self). Cool to the touch, spiral staircases made of marble- up and down to more empty spaces of restaurants and cabarets; the richness of the gold foil ceiling and deep tans of the furniture. A first on this blog- a photo of myself appears (likely the last).

A friend told me that I should be more explicit in my advice to those that will be asked to read this when I die- so here it is. It’s unnerving to break through into anything where one feels like they might not belong. I’ve learned that there’s usually only one chance in life, in the present moment to be specific, to decide whether you have the courage to do it. Nothing comes for free- there’s always a give or a take. But I never regret trying- even with the pain and heartbreak that sometimes is inevitably a part of that process- I never regret trying.

* Another new idea as this evolves. Besides eventually printing a large format book with various written notes or poetry (that I’ve recently embarked on), I thought including the song I’m playing on repeat, in my ears or in my head, in the space and time that I’m writing these (or maybe when I’m actually taking the pictures) would be an interesting addition. See- trying… sometimes it’s really the details that matter. So listen to “Pictures of You” while reading this post. And if you know me, you should know why it’s both the oddest and yet most suitable choice. Good luck.)

Address: 3430 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Website: Dezeen write up (lists architects for the Faena District except the parking lot)