Feb 25 2020

A Closer Look at Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum in Miami

Nestled in the heart of buzzing Miami, surrounded by the towering skyscrapers above Biscayne Bay, you’ll find the eye-catching One Thousand Museum luxury condominium. The brainchild of late star architect Zaha Hadid, the futuristic building dominates the skyline, having created a buzz for its unique, curved “exoskeleton” design. Not only that, but it’s also the only residential space in downtown Miami that comes with its own helipad — yep, you read that right.


The high-rise also honours the legacy of the Iraqi-British architect, who died in Miami in 2016 at age 65, when the 62-story tower was built up to about the eighth floor.


“We felt a big obligation to make sure we got this particular project right because Miami was her second home,” said Chris Lepine, who took over as director of the $300 million project after her death. “She spent a lot of time here, had a lot of friends.”

One Thousand Museum building in Miami. (Photo: Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP)


Hadid — sometimes dubbed “Queen of the Curve” for her love of the form — was the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, and also won two Stirling Prizes, Britain’s highest honour for architecture.


Forbes once named her one of the most influential women in the world. Among her acclaimed projects are Beijing Daxing International Airport and the London Aquatic Centre for the 2012 Olympics.


About six months ago residents began moving into the Miami building — which has been in the works since 2012. “We wanted to make sure that we left this landmark of her achievements,” Lepine said.


One Thousand Museum — Hadid’s first tower in the Western Hemisphere — is now the crown jewel of her design firm, which is based in London. The 216-metres-tall building has 84 units, two pools, a juice bar and the helipad, among other high-end amenities. In the gym, a swirling tornado spiral staircase snakes up to the spa.


A view of a terrace at the gym area in One Thousand Museum. (Photo: Eva Marie UZCATEGUI/ AFP)



The penthouses offer stunning views of the park surrounding the Perez Art Museum Miami, the bay and then out to the Miami Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.


Most notably, the structure’s signature curves stand out among the traditional linear buildings near One Thousand Museum. “There are 360 angles. Why only use one of them? Why only use 90 degrees?” said Lepine, paraphrasing his late boss.



Form and function

The building’s “exoskeleton,” as architects call it, flows from the base to the top of its exterior, and sinks at times between the tower’s windows.


That structure is not just for aesthetics — it is functional. It is made of white fibreglass-reinforced concrete, and allowed the design team to play with open spaces inside, without the need for columns. “The exoskeleton for us was a real look at how architecture could be synthesised with structure into an overall very elegant expression,” Lepine said.



Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. (Photo: LEON NEAL/ AFP)


The flexibility and finishing of the novel material used in this “permanent formwork” technique allowed for a fluid look. One Thousand Museum was developed by Louis Birdman, Gilberto Bomeny, Gregg Covin and Kevin Venger. Prices start in the $5 million range, and shoot up to $24 million for units that take up an entire higher floor. Residents hail from about 20 different countries, and a handful of apartments are still on the market.


“It has all the basic elements of a residential tower, but I think configured in a way that’s very, very clever, very creative and in a way that sort of stands out,” Lepine said.


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