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"Starchitects" Reinventing South Florida Buildings

MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) - Seven stories above South Beach, in the open air, a wedding reception like no other took place.

"No other city has this! This is Miami," declared a wedding guest.

The "this" is 1111 Lincoln Road, a parking garage to some, others called it a retail space.

Robert Wennett is the developer. "It's really a unique destination."

Wennett sees the parking garage as the beginning of an architectural revolution on Miami Beach. He hired the architect firm Herzog and De Meuron to transform the corner of Alton and Lincoln Road which is also the west entrance to Lincoln Road.

"A parking garage is a very static  object. It's really a warehouse for cars. And that wasn't our concept.  Our concept was that this building  was constantly in motion," said Wennett

Some recent events at the location include a Sunday morning Master Yoga class, a Halloween party with spectacular 360-degree views of the city from above Lincoln Road. Movies and TV shows are regularly shot here, and of course the wedding.

"I'll be honest with you, a lot of people  hear parking garage, they're mesmerized, they don't know what they're going to come into," said Event Planner Corinne Abuarem.

"So we kind of twist people's  imagination, to think about space in  a different way," explained Wennett.

Wennett's not alone. Super-star architects have their sights on Miami Beach.

World-class architect Zaha Hadid, who is based in London, is the designer behind some of the most futuristic designs of our time, such as the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center. Now she's designing a $12.5 million dollar destination parking garage at Collins Park.

Then there's LA-based architect Frank Gehry, known for extreme details and  designer of the famed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. He's also the brains behind the New World Center on Miami Beach, home to the New World Symphony.

There is also the local firm Arquitectonica, designer of resorts like  "The City of Dreams" in Macau, China.

In Miami Beach, the firm is designing a 30,000 square foot, mixed use garage at Sunset Harbour.

"So the New World Symphony, 1111,  Zaha coming and building a parking  garage, all of these are extremely  important for the evolution of the  city," said Wennett.

Wennett says the idea is to give people the space to use their imaginations.

"We're evoking emotion out of people," said Wennett. "And we're getting them to think about space in different ways."


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