Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach, FL, USA

Location: Miami Beach, FL, USA
Client: City of Miami Beach
Architect: Thompson and Wood, Architects & Carlos Zapata Design Studio
Size: 4.5 hectares
Status: Completed 997

Lincoln Road Mall in South Miami Beach was designed in 1960 as a pedestrian mall. Conceived of by Miami architect Morris Lapidus, the street was one of the first in America to be closed off to vehicles for this pur­pose. The original 4,500-foot-long mall incorporated Lapidus’s fantastic shade structures, fountains, and plantings, flanked on both sides by shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries. Unfortunately, by the 1970s, the once-fashionable and upscale mall had fallen into disrepair; the revival of South Beach in the early 1990s brought new art galleries to the street and a renewed interest in renovating the mall. Lapidus designed the original 100-foot-wide street to be planted on both sides by palms, which had long since died and been removed. Without the trees, the street was a wide open space that lacked a sense of enclosure by the low, two-story buildings along its edges. Over time, the sidewalks cracked, plantings changed, and the street became badly run down.

The new scheme provides more shade, contains the space, and creates a visual continuity by replanting native sabal palms in double rows on both sides of the street. Each block of the 11-block long mall is also given its own identity through a paving pattern that is generated by the Lapidus structures that inhabit the block. For example, the zigzag structure generated a zigzag paving that extends through the block. The historic Lapidus structures are being refurbished, existing fountains are being renovated and new ones added, and planters are replanted with new species that reinforce each block’s theme.