Shimmering Cambridge Architectural metal mesh designed to obscure vehicle visibility at Miami’s new Grove Bay public parking garage is also the canvas for a series of bold graphics that pay homage to the historic seaplanes that once flew from the site.
The garage’s location at Coconut Grove’s Dinner Key was home to the first continental naval air station in the early 1900s and later became the base for Pan American Airways flying boats serving Havana and South America destinations from 1930 – 1945.
A public-private venture between the City of Miami, Miami Parking Authority and investors, the garage will serve customers at Regatta Harbour’s retail shops, restaurants and marina as well as visitors to Miami City Hall, the former art deco Pan American terminal.
“The project’s location is directly visible from a prominent street and at the gateway to City Hall, said Marcel Morlote, AIA, senior vice president at Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners. “It required that the building’s façade be attractive and imaginative.”
The second and third floors – on four out of five sides of the garage – are covered with Cambridge’s Lanier pattern. The metal mesh features eight images of Clipper flying boats interspersed with milestone dates and aviation descriptors that are powder-coated on the stainless fabric.
“The mesh designs,” said Morlote, “provided the best option to achieve several seemingly contradictory requirements: block direct visibility of automobiles as required by code; be open enough to satisfy the owner’s requirements; and act as a canvas for artwork to fulfill the City’s Art in Public Places mandate.”
The City requires developers to spend 1.5 percent of budget on public art for all new building projects. The flying boat graphics memorialize a piece of Miami history in a contemporary fashion, said Morlote.
Cambridge’s durable stainless mesh – woven by artisans on Maryland’s Eastern Shore – delivers several important functional benefits according to the company’s Sales Manager Ivan Zorn.
“With a 48 percent open area, the mesh conceals vehicles from the outside while accommodating open air flow requirements for ventilation and providing a tightly woven medium to apply the powder-coated graphics,” said Zorn. “The tensioned mesh panels also comply with Florida building codes for wind force and hurricane resistance.”
At total of 267 stainless mesh panels – 10,356 square feet – were installed on the 333-space garage.
The garage and mesh are lit at night.
Garage Owner: City of Miami, Miami Parking Authority and Grove Bay Investment Group
Architect: Wolfberg Alvarez Partners
Stainless Steel Mesh: Cambridge Architectural
Graphics: Rendered images by Will Hemsley V with powder coating by Metal Arc
General Contractor: MCM
Installer: L&S Erectors