OCULAR DOMINANCE is a two-stage, by invitation, Stage 2 finalist of the Dawntown Miami Design/Build 2.0.
Our design was awarded an honorable mention by executive director Joachim Perez, and the selection committee.
This project grew out of Miami’s cityscape, mapped out of several zones of the metropolis, including Downtown, South Beach, Wynwood, Little Havana, and Coral Gables. As a feature of downtown, we felt that this Philip Johnson-designed plaza should and could have more visitors, especially because of Miami cultural center’s significant presence, and the movement pathways surrounding the building, including pedestrian, car, and public transport.
We decided to engage the city plan and map this pattern on to the plaza, to see what grew from there. As we worked through different iterations of the design, we also gained insight from Jean-Christophe Ratajczak of AECOM, an internationally- recognized structural engineering firm, that consulted with us on the project. This ensured that we could execute a beautiful concept that could withstand the specific structure and site conditions, particularly related to wind, rain, and sun. We chose to create a shade structure and a series of urban oculi, making a private and enclosed view from each separate chamber to the Miami sky, giving the geometric domes interior visual landscapes inspired by the textures and patterning of the city. We also chose to 3d print a model of the design as a way to further our understanding of the project’s geometries, structural strength, and it’s potential to be fabricated and constructed with ease on site.
Ultimately, Ocular Dominance utilizes a tension cable structural system and lightweight frame that assimilates the patterning of traditional Cuban tiles in its geometry, a major cultural influence in Miami’s growth and identity. It suspends this city structure over the heads of visitors, and drawing people in, the structure provides shading and intimacy, and creates a memorable and immersive experience that citizens can have with their own city. At night, the structure of ocular dominance utilizes solar LEDs to illuminate the openings of each dome, making them glowing, vibrant, welcoming spaces. These brightly colored interior domes punctuate the overall shade structure, and give visitors a moment where they can look through an urban oculus and reflect on and appreciate the vital, growing, living energy of Miami, the different elements that have brought it together, and last but not least, the gorgeous Miami sky.