Jean Nouvel’s Sleek Miami Tower Will Have a Private Lagoon

Monad Terrace—the Pritzker Prize winner’s first residential project in South Florida—will mix high style with environmentally sensitive design.

Contemporary architecture in Miami is facing a paradox. On the one hand, real-estate demand is booming, resulting in a spate of flagship projects by the likes of Foster + Partners, OMA, and Piero Lissoni. On the other, flooding from rising sea levels and storm surges continues to encroach on the very ground prized by property developers and their clients. So for a new residential project on the shore of the flood-prone Biscayne Bay, the French architect Jean Nouvel is addressing those environmental challenges head-on, creating a condominium complex with a flood-resilient landscape design.

Monad Terrace is arrayed across two long but relatively low-slung glass volumes. At the center of the site, Nouvel has included a naturally filtered lagoon with lush, native plantings. This feature provides not only a visual reminder of the site’s marine nature, but also a practical way for the property to accommodate excess water during storms. Like the lagoon, everything in the project has been designed to withstand flooding. Even an underground parking garage can flood and drain without causing costly damage.

But environmental risks weren’t the only factors that shaped Monad Terrace. Nouvel and property developer JDS also set out to raise the bar on contemporary design and living. Each of the 51 units, for example, will feature floor-through layouts. What’s more, the apartments will include a terrace with a hanging garden, and some will have private pools. Clad in glass, the building—which Nouvel has taken to calling a “reflection machine”—offers expansive views of Biscayne Bay and Miami Beach.

Just this month, Monad Terrace got the go-ahead from the Miami Beach Design Review Board. Although sales for the building are slated to begin this fall, there is no announced completion date.


By John Gendall, Architectural Digest

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