La Esfera was created as a solution for an iconic architectural landmark in the city of Miami, a place that elicits an energetic feeling of constant movement, reflected by its light, air, and water. These elements in motion describe Miami’s natural and urban context as well as inspire the design of La Esfera. Its orbital geometry takes cues from Miami’s past and future; from the perfect circular geometry of the Miami Circle inscribed by the Native American Tequesta tribe, to the city’s ever expanding global reach.
La Esfera creates a functional civic space in three dimensions. Derived from the Ferris wheel, the sphere rises 450 feet into the sky and transports passengers in glass gondolas through the tubes that form the structure, providing a stunning observatory of Miami’s land and water. Placed on the important axis of Flagler Street, the structure can be accessed through an underground visitor’s center that houses museum and retail spaces.
By night, La Esfera is lit by its own kinetic energy, rendered awash in varying colors and intensity based upon the degree of use. By day, a cloud of mist envelopes the interior, providing a cooling mist to nearby park users. Both elemental effects allow the landmark to be experienced simultaneously by riders and observers and to be a beacon from vantage points throughout the city and across the water from the beaches.
Anticipating the future of the city, La Esfera is entirely sustainable, creating its own energy to power lights and motors through the movement of the gondolas. Gravity is used on the downward turn of the gondolas to minimize the need for energy.
La Esfera, Miami’s landmark, is defined by the unique character of this incomparable place.
AIA District of Columbia Unbuilt Award, 2014