Cooper Robertson Unveils Design of Coral Gables Miracle Mile Streetscape

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Streetscape Design Inspired by Land History of South Florida and Development of Coral Gables

Cooper Robertson’s design strengthens the identity of Miracle Mile as Coral Gables’ premiere public place.

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Cooper Robertson unveiled the Miracle Mile Streetscape design at a public open house and city commissioners meeting in Coral Gables last month. The $20 million improvement project reimagines the Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue corridors as distinctive pedestrian-dominent environments with character unique to the City of Coral Gables.

Cooper Robertson’s design, developed by a team led by Cooper Robertson partner and design director Earl Jackson, AIA, strengthens the identity of Miracle Mile as Coral Gables’ premiere public place and creates an exceptional streetscape with world-class character composed of authentic and resilient materials.

The concept for the character of the streetscape is inspired by the South Florida skies and the historical development of Coral Gables’ built environment by George Merrick, developer and poet, and his uncle, Denman Fink, illustrator.

Hopefulness and optimism for the bounty of nature, as recalled by Merrick in the poem, “When the Groves Begin to Bear”, is infused in the design through lush plantings, lively pedestrian walkways, spirited street furniture, and varied sensory experiences. Paving patterns that honor the South Florida skies are meant to evoke the feeling of walking in the clouds.

On Miracle Mile—the four-block length of Coral Way between LeJeune and Douglas Plazas—three staggered rows of trees soften the edges of the street to slow traffic flow. Changing the 45 degree parking to parallel enables the widening of sidewalks to accommodate dynamic street furniture and outdoor seating at restaurants and cafés. An emphasis on a sense of arrival at the plazas and the north-south circulation of pedestrians at crosswalks and paseos knits together the surrounding downtown streets.

Giralda Avenue is transformed into a curbless, pedestrian-dominant street that can be closed to vehicular traffic for special events. To give Giralda its own unique character, it is differentiated by concentric paving patterns inspired by raindrops. At the center of the block between Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Merrick Way, the design creates the focal point of an outdoor room, where palm trees, distinct paving, and suspended dashes of LED lights create a unique sensory experience.

With the goal of “100% for art”, Cooper Robertson has considered the design of all street elements, including fixed seating, bollards of coral stone, valet stands, manhole covers, tree gates, and trash bins.

For the public open house on April 17, a prototype section of the proposed streetscape with sidewalk café seating was built outside an available storefront on Miracle Mile. The City plans to break ground on select elements of the construction this fall.

Project Team
Cooper Robertson, Architect, New York, New York:
Earl Jackson, AIA, Partner
William Kenworthey, AIA, Partner
Alexander Cooper, FAIA, Founding Partner
German Carmona, Associate
    Noor Makkiya
Kirk Finkel
Yuan Liang

Rodriguez and Quiroga, Associate Architect, Coral Gables, Florida
Local Office Landscape Architects, Landscape Architect, Brooklyn, New York
Geomantic Designs, Associate Landscape Architect, Miami, Florida
Fisher Marantz Stone, Lighting Designer, New York, New York
Two Twelve Harakawa, Signage & Wayfinding, New York, New York
Coastal Systems International, Civil Engineer, Coral Gables, Florida
Atkins, Cost Estimator, Miami, Florida
Walker Parking, Parking Consultant, Chicago, Illinois
EMTec Corporation, MEP Engineer, Coral Gables, Florida

About Cooper Robertson
Founded in 1979 and based in New York City, Cooper Robertson practices award-winning architecture and urban design with both disciplines working together at a range of scales. The firm skillfully addresses large-scale urban design challenges, shapes major cultural and educational buildings, and crafts exceptional private residences and resorts around the world. Cooper Robertson has shaped the public realm of cities across the country and around the world with projects that include Museum Park in Miami, MGM’s Las Vegas Boulevard Redevelopment and Park in Las Vegas, Zuccotti Park and the Lower Manhattan Streetscape in New York, and Fountain Square in Cincinnati.

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Abigail Carlen
since: 07/2009
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