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Island Gardens

Miami - USA

The original masterplan for Island Gardens, Miami, embodies CivicArts’ design philosophy for bringing the public realm to life.


With its civic spaces animated by retail, dining, hotel lobbies, and cultural amenities, Island Gardens promised to be one of the most active waterfronts in America, helping to restore the rich story-telling quality of architecture and cities. Its ambitious program of civic art installations described the 500-year maritime history of Miami and Southern Florida through sculptures, fountains, architectural ornament, mosaics and murals. Including over 4 acres of gardens, terraces, promenades, and avenues, the concept design emphatically restored a large proportion of Watson Island to the public domain.


As the East Coast’s largest waterfront development, Island Gardens will radically transform the reclaimed land of Watson Island into a 48-slip mega-yacht marina, with an entourage of cultural and leisure amenities. Strategically situated between South Beach and Downtown Miami, the island forms a natural meeting place for citizens and visitors alike. Having tied up alongside the spreading calliper piers its guests will be greeted by an active urban parkland, bounded by fifteen restaurants, two prestige hotels, a maritime gallery and a 220,000 sq/ft retail street. Gazing out across Biscayne Bay to Miami’s skyline the project’s western prospect boasts a wealth of shaded gardens and public promenades dotted with fountains, follies and civic art. Together, they will recreate the diverse and provocative history of Miami’s growth from a colonial settlement to one of the finest international centres for leisure, culture and commerce.


The two towers of Island Gardens offer an artful alternative to the hotels of Miami Beach and Brickell Avenue. An elegant address for the business traveller, the taller Shangri-la Hotel brings Asian hospitality to the Americas. Its dynamic façade will quickly become one of the most recognisable icons on the Miami skyline. The sweeping curve of the neighbouring Wave Hotel mimics the taut stretched canvas of a racing yacht in full sail. The soaring prow of the hotel will become the gateway landmark for all who journey to and from Miami across the MacArthur Causeway. Tailoring their exquisite interiors to the lifestyles of their clientele, the hotels of Island Gardens are an integral part of its character. Ambassadors for a 21st century concierge culture, they will bring international hospitality to Miami.


Client: Flagstone Properties

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