Whether transforming skylines or forging closer communities, buildings shape who we are brick by brick, notes architect and scholar Germane Barnes, whose historical research and speculative design explores what he calls “the social and political agency of architecture.” A professor at University of Miami School of Architecture, Barnes has put theory into practice with urban revitalization projects in Opa-locka and Delray Beach that honor their vibrant history. “It’s exciting to see cities grow before your eyes, while not taking away from past traditions,” he says about the process. With this in mind, the architect shares his favorite buildings throughout South Florida.
1111 LINCOLN ROAD
This Herzog and de Meuron design completely altered the way we view parking garages. We usually see them as static objects and boring necessities. But they essentially rewrote that narrative when this structure opened back in 2010. With stunning concrete architecture and city views, these mixed-use spaces can be activated in many ways: as a runway, a retail space or as a restaurant.
OPA-LOCKA CITY HALL
This iconic building is the last thing you expect to find in South Florida. But Opa-locka is home to the largest collection of Moorish Revival architecture in the Americas. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the city hall (built in 1926) is a beautiful example, with pink domes and minarets straight out of The Arabian Nights.
BROWARD COUNTY MAIN LIBRARY
Downtown Fort Lauderdale has some spectacular Brutalist structures like this library designed by Robert F. Gatje [of Marcel Breuer Associates] and opened in 1984. I love how massive and anchored it feels. These types of buildings are unfortunately falling by the wayside recently because many dislike the sheer size of them. But I think Brutalist architecture is truly unique and should be cherished.