SB Architects-designed Palm Court Honored for Sustainable Design

A new voice for sustainable design

At the close of 2016, the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects honored Palm Court, Miami Design District in its second annual COTE Sustainability Awards. As the master architects for Palm Court, SB Architects provided leadership and design continuity, designing the project’s core and shell, and working with myriad individual designers to coordinate the project’s many retail facades. The award cements the project’s position as one of the most sustainable and innovative retail destinations in the country.

As a profession, architects serve as advocates and leaders for a sustainable approach to design and development. The Miami Chapter of the AIA takes that leadership role seriously, and formed the AIA Miami Committee on the Environment (COTE) to serve as a voice for the AIA in advocating sustainable design. In 2015, the committee established the COTE Design Awards to raise awareness of the architectural community’s leadership role in environmental issues and sustainability.

In 2015, Palm Court had earned LEED Platinum certification for core & shell, and the project received the 2015 LEEDership Award from the USGBC South Florida Chapter for outstanding sustainable design.

A paradigm shift in urban retail design

Lead by founder and CEO Craig Robbins, Miami-based Dacra is transforming the Miami Design District from a forgotten part of town into an international destination for art, design and luxury retail. Central to the company’s development approach is the view that architecture, art, design and culture are the core equities of its projects. In partnership with L Real Estate – the Paris-based luxury retail private equity fund for LVMH, the world’s leading luxury products group – Dacra has enacted an entirely new vision for the district, and for Miami.

Within the four city blocks that make up Palm Court, the design team has embarked upon a whole new approach to retail design. Although the blocks are being developed and designed as a cohesive whole, this is decidedly not a mall. SB Architects created the architectural skeleton for the block – addressing building structure, overall identity and the movement of people through space. A traditional approach to retail design would have given each retail tenant license to direct the design for the first two floors. In a paradigm shift entirely in keeping with Dacra’s revolutionary approach to development, each retail tenant was given the opportunity to create the entire façade – 45 feet from the ground to the roof.  Enormously attractive to the project’s high-end retail tenants, this approach gives each retailer the opportunity to make this location an entirely unique venture and a flagship-level retail experience.

What makes it sustainable?

Set in the heart of the Design District, Palm Court makes use of its infill site, capitalizing upon development density, community connection and access to public transportation.The SB team played a critical role in ensuring that the luxury retail tenants built out their spaces in accordance with the sustainability goals for the overall project. The team also managed construction waste, utilized recycled, locally-sourced and sustainable materials, optimized energy performance, and utilized systems to reduce water use. Nearly every roof in the development was planted as a green roof, providing not only thermal cooling, but providing a stunning rooftop landscape design mimicking past hurricane patterns over Miami. When viewed from the airline flight path that runs directly above the site, these rooftop patterns turn sustainability into a piece of living artwork.

SB Architects continues to work with Dacra on the redevelopment of the Miami Design District. The third phase – Paradise Plaza – is now under construction.