The design by Miami-based firm Oppenheim Architecture was selected by Crescent Heights, one of the nation’s largest developers, for the 40,000-sf Whole Foods Market to be constructed on Alton Road and 19th Street in Miami Beach. The project recently received Planning and Design Review Board approval by the City of Miami Beach.
Helping satiate the city’s appetite for elevated architecture expression set forth by projects created by Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas, the new Whole Foods Market designed by Chad Oppenheim attempts to blur the boundaries between traditional and contemporary notions of place.
The design for the Whole Food Market features a grid of white concrete representing a pure expression of structure and space, establishing a pedestrian loggia at the ground level, and a floating garden above that screens the parking.
Veiled behind a dimensional and diaphanous mesh supported within the super structure, the flora, selected by Urban Robot, becomes a ghosted memory of the native landscape that was Miami Beach, some of which can actually be foraged.
The structure, while striking in its purity and innovation, is also somehow comfortable and familiar. The harmonious rhythm of columns and beams, distorts the perception of scale, making the large building friendlier to the neighborhood.
Oppenheim Architecture worked closely with Whole Foods to activate the majority of the public facing glass façades by inverting and celebrating the typical back of house operations such as baking, other food preparation and stores within stores. A large, landscaped plaza at the corner of the site is sure to serve as a major public gathering space of the city.
“Every great city needs a great market, and Miami Beach, while having many super markets is in need a market that is super," said Chad Oppenheim, Principal and Lead Designer of Oppenheim Architecture. "So we began by looking at the markets of ancient civilizations—Greece, Rome, those of the Islamic world, and even the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán—when markets served as the center of communal life. We were inspired by their effortless elegance, logical practicality and ability to support public life.”