September 4, 2015

Midcentury ‘International Design Center’ in the Design District to be Replaced with Neoclassical Retail

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 11.24.02 AM.png

[Via Google Street View]

An architecturally significant midcentury modern office building at 4141 North Miami Avenue, on the edge of the Design District and Buena Vista neighborhoods is being fully gutted and transformed into a neoclassical retail building with two levels of retail, a covered colonnaded sidewalk, and a rooftop restaurant, according to the developer, Manny Angelo Varas. The infill project will match another retail project that Mr. Varas recently broke ground on across the street, giving a neoclassical entrance to the Design District on North Miami Avenue, and an admittedly rather nice pedestrian experience. Originally known as the International Design Center, the building as it is now is architecturally notable in its own right and even has its own entry in the AIA Guide to Miami Architecture.

According to Miami Architecture: An AIA Guide Featuring Downtown, the Beaches, and Coconut Grove, by Shulman, Robinson, and Donnelly:

The International Design Center was one of the first buildings to reflect the 1960s influx of designers and vendors into the Design District. Originally it housed more than 150 display areas for manufacturers serving Miami, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The complex was developed by English interior designer Henry End with the goal of raising the general level of taste in Miami, and in its heyday its board of directors comprised Miami’s most prominent architects and designers. The opaque showroom building is wrapped in a skin of tiled panels framed by concrete structures that look like giant tuning forks. Its entrance is framed in black and white marble. An atrium just inside the entrance contains a multilevel grand stair screened with bronze dividers. Today the building is used primarily for offices.

This is what Varas’ project across the street, at 4136 N. Miami Avenue, will look like:

4136NMiamiAve_Rendering_smallerfile copy for web.jpg
[Courtesy MV Construction Group]