As sub-consultants on Port Miami Tunnel, the firm served as design architect and design landscape architect to enhance movement and access for twin tunnels below Miami's shipping channel, and one mile of approach roads on two Islands. The extensive, multi-disciplinary design includes architecture of portals and support building facades and shade trellises; graphics on tunnel portals, U-walls and fire-resistant interior surfaces; and landscaping along approach roads and support-building campuses at each end. Implementation required navigation and cooperation in a complex cross-disciplinary, Public Private Partnership effort.
Eighty-foot tall portals house flood gates to protect the tunnels from hurricane storm surge. Their exposed concrete surfaces were formed with Latin variations of the word “navigate,” creating texture and shadow by day and night. Facades and contrasting sections of translucent metal mesh are subtly highlighted at night, glowing as both beacons and modern art pieces. U-walls are inscribed with irregular bas relief patterns simulating sea grasses. The story of navigation continues like a children’s storybook, as the act of going under water is playfully illustrated with colorful images of sea grass, turtles and sharks found in the underwater landscape beyond the tunnel walls.
The landscape enhances the surrounding ecosystem in a conscious break from traditional, linear highway design. Drifts of native plant material are arranged over 6 acres to showcase the wilderness setting, and frame the architecture of the monumental tunnel portals.
The sculptural and graphic nature of the portals and tunnel interiors elevates infrastructure in the tradition of Roman aqueducts and American WPA-era bridges. The approach road’s native landscape at both ends of the tunnels, and the sustainable U-walls, portals, tunnel interiors, and building facades, are part of a highly choreographed, cinematic sequence designed to tell a story, calm and inform the traveler, and enhance the surrounding environment through art and ecosystem expansion.