In the past several years Miami has become a major cultural center and a booming real estate development area.
As of 2008 it is undergoing a massive building boom that ranks second worldwide (and first in the United States) for the most buildings under construction that will be over 492 feet, with over 24 such buildings currently under construction.
Chad Oppenheim became a prominent Miami architect famous for condominium projects since he established his firm Oppenheim Architecture + Design in 1999. His delicate modernist designs started to alter Miami’s architectural sensibility towards modern design away from Mediterranean-Revival style.
About this Video
This interview is a the second in a series Alexandra Lerman conducted during Miami Art Basel.
You can view her previously released interview with Yves Behar, designer behind the One Laptop per Child initiative, here.
We filmed this interview using the Panasonic AG-HSC1 high definition camera.
Oppenheim’s success lies in his ability to realize commercially successful projects, which allows developers to open up and invest in riskier proposals. The recently completed Ten Museum Park was one of the most financially successful residential projects in Miami’s real estate history selling out in just eight days.
Oppenheim was not only the architect of the project, he was also a developer. Having a stake in the real estate gave him flexibility in his proposal, and reassured other other investors.
In 2006, Oppenheim Architecture + Design announced the building of COR, a mixed use green building positioned in the booming Design District. Since then the building has become a poster child for Green architecture in the United States.
In some European countries like Sweden, “green” architecture is not a matter of a popular movement, it has long been written into the guidelines for architecture. The buildings that are not “green” simply do not get built. In the US, “green” buildings are still a novelty and a suspicious one for developers.
The design of COR does not conceal its sustainable features, instead it exposes them. Most noticeably, the wind turbines that power the building are key elements in its design. The building uses photo voltaic panels, and solar hot water generation among other features.
Oppenheim’s commitment to green building is both sincere and lucrative: he knows how to turn green architecture into a business and marketing model. When proposing COR, he suggested to the developers that since COR looks so different, it will get a lot of press exposure, so instead of spending $1 million in marketing, this money is better put into the technology for the wind turbines, the solar generation of hot water and photovoltraics.
The idea worked. The building is scheduled for completion in 2009, and has already put Chad Oppenheim Architecture + Design on the map as a leading environmentally friendly and green architecture firm in the US.
Alexandra Lerman is the Arts and Culture editor of ScribeMedia.Org. She is also a video artist, VJ and the founder of Ambitious Outsiders Collective.