Miami is undeniably one of the prime vacation spots on the east coast—it presents visitors with sights from iconic lifeguard stations to its eclectic collection of architectural buildings. Its crystalline shoreline is dotted with opulent hotels and resorts. Urban centers like Downtown Miami and neighborhoods like Brickell compete for airtime as developers reach for soaring new heights with commercial, residential, and mixed-use high rises. Multi-billion dollar stadiums and entertainment districts are currently underway. Here, you’ll find the architects behind the biggest and most expensive projects in Miami are ranked below. The team took into consideration each firm’s affiliations, years in the industry, awards received, as well as a number of projects in the city.
Architects: Bernardo Fort-Brescia, FAIA, and Laurinda Spear, FAIA, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP, IIDA
Address: 2900 Oak Ave., Miami, FL 33133
For firms associated with Miami’s urban renaissance, one does not need to look farther than Arquitectonica. The international architectural firm is based in Miami and has offices in major cities around the world. The firm’s trademark modernistic design, bold use of geometry, pattern, and color, can be seen in 58 countries on five continents thanks to Principals Bernardo Fort-Brescia, FAIA and Laurinda Spear, FAIA, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP, IIDA. Not only has Arquitectonica received hundreds of architectural design awards, but their work has also been featured in museums. Fort Brescia was educated in architecture at Princeton, and later went on to receive his Masters at Harvard. He is a recipient of the AIA Silver Medal Award. Spear studied at Brown, going on to receive her Masters in Architecture at Columbia University. She is the designer of many of Arquitectonica’s signature projects, earning over a hundred design awards herself. Thanks to her, the firm’s interior design practice is in the Interior Design Hall of Fame. She is also a recipient of the AIA Silver Medal.
Arquitectonica’s work in Miami runs the gamut from airport work to courthouses to elementary schools, their most striking work is seen and will be seen on the Miami skyline. The Marquis is the fourth-tallest building in Miami, overlooking Biscayne Bay in northeastern Downtown. It has 63 floors that reach 679 feet into the sky and features retail space, hotel rooms, and residential units. While the typical unit contains at least 1,600 square feet, the penthouse units can be up to 7,500 square feet. The typical unit price ranges from $600k to $7M. The building stands out on the skyscraper-heavy landscape of Miami by lighting up the night. Near the Miami River is the Latitude, which is a 45-story complex built in the Art Deco style. Still being constructed is the firm’s SkyRise Miami, which features a unique feature. A continuous sheet of mesh rises one thousand feet from the bay to the top of the structure, wrapping around and descending into a curve that acts as a canopy for a performance amphitheater. The building’s unique curving profile can recall a wave or a billfish, but it is supposed to be representative of Miami’s tropical location.
Address: 3075 NW South River Dr., Miami, FL 33142
BEA Architects is an award-winning Miami-based architecture, planning, engineering, and interior design firm. Although it is based in Miami, the firm’s exceptional work has graced the international scene. It has completed projects located in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Its use of forward-thinking designs and technology keeps most of the firm’s projects coming from repeat clients in the commercial sector. BEA Architects’s core group of leaders is composed of Bruno-Elias Ramos, John Colao, Armando Trujillo, Mario Ortega, Adrian Price, and Arvin Maleki. Each industry professional brings a wealth of experience to different aspects of the design process. This collaborative effort resulted in designs that are specifically made to respond to each personalized project.
BEA Architects portfolio is filled with award-winning and nationally recognized projects. Its list of awards in the last few years includes the AI Business Excellence Award, the IFAI Outstanding Achievement Award, Go Green Business Diamon Award, and press features include LUXE Interiors + Design, Venue Negocios, and PCI Journal to name a few. From Miami to Istanbul, the firm has a wide collection of projects. One of its large-scale projects is the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscane. The project consists of three tennis stadiums and six tennis courts. BEA Architects is also responsible for the design of The James Hotel and Four Seasons Hotel in Miami. These projects highlight the versatility of the team in creating designs for a high design standard.
Berenblum Busch Architects
Address: 2200 NW 2nd Ave. Suite #211, Miami, FL 3312
Berenblum Busch Architects is a Miami-based global architecture, planning, and interior design firm founded in 2010. It is spearheaded by industry leaders, Gustavo Berenblum and Claudia Busch. Both professionals offer a collaborative design concept shaped by the different values, cultures, and identities of each client. The B+BA team is driven to making spaces that encourage people to collaborate, live better, and work smarter. One of its latest additions is a redesign for Covid-19. The firm is updating and restructuring the current set-up of offices, schools, and transportation. The firm’s impressive list of projects has earned the recognition of industry associations like the AIA, World Architecture News, Build Magazine, Society of American Registered Architects, Miami Herald, and more.
Among Berenblum Busch Architects’ expansive projects is the Mana 5th Avenue. The mixed-use building was designed to meet US Green Building’s LEED Silver certification standards. A total of 243,000 square feet of space consists of nine stories that will house a variety of retail tenants including the Luxury Brand Partners. LBP is one of Miami’s leading artist-driven high-end beauty brands company. In addition to its retail spaces, the building will house spots for offices, education, lodging, production studios, entertainment, and restaurants. Other noteworthy amenities of the design include a world-class lounge area, an outdoor pool, and stylish exterior decor. Another remarkable project in its portfolio is the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and County Office. Berenblum Busch Architects was faced with the task of designing the new office in Wynwood. Key components if this new project includes a cafe, learning, art, meeting, and office spaces. The ground floor is dedicated to retail spaces while the upper floors will house offices and an education center. Its design inspiration is an influence of the Wynwood’s industrial nature, one-story warehouses, and street murals that have drawn tourists to the city.
Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc.
Featured Architects: Willy Bermello and Luis Ajamil
Address: 2601 S. Bayshore Dr. Suite #1000, Miami, FL 33133
Bermello Ajamil & Partners is a global award-winning firm founded in 1939. Its expertise revolves around architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture, interior design, and construction for an array of clientele. The firm is led by Willy Bermello, AIA, AICP, a Florida-registered architect, introduced to the firm in 1976. He was later joined by Luis Ajamil, PE in 1992. Bermello is recognized as one of the leading architects in South Florida. He brings over four decades of industry experience working with both public and private projects. Ajamil, on the other hand, uses his leadership to bring the firm’s design to the international market. His strategic operations have led to the expansion of Bermello Ajamil & Partners’ works to be recognized from Florida to California and in Dubai. Over the years, the firm has expanded to serve Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. B&A’s long history has garnered the company awards and recognition in the industry. Most recently, they were recognized by AIA Fort Lauderdale, named one of the 2020 Top 500 Design Firms by Engineering News-Record, and named the 3rd Largest Architecture Firm in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal.
B&A’s had the opportunity to design the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower. The hotel holds the distinction of being the second tallest building in Miami as well as the entire state of Florida. Rising 800 feet over Brickell Avenue, the Tower’s 70 floors house 221 hotel rooms, 84 condo/hotel units, 186 luxury condominiums, 230,000 square feet of office space, 10,600 square feet of retail space, and a 40,000-square-foot gym. Its construction began in 2000 and finished three years later for the cost of $225M. B&A’s work isn’t restricted to high-rises. In 2001, the firm was awarded the American Schools and Universities Design Award for its work at the University of Miami Graduate School of Business Administration. Located in Coral Gables, the $7M project sits on an area of 28,000 square feet.
Borges Architects + Associates
Featured Architects: Reinaldo Borges and Alice Dahura-Borges
Address: 999 Brickell Ave, Ste 700, Miami, FL 33131
Kicking off the list of large commercial architects in this city of skylines is a firm that has been building high-rises for the last 25 years. At its leadership is Reinaldo Borges, Principal and CEO, and Alice Dahura-Borges, Vice President. The two are both Masters in Architecture, with over two decades of professional experience each. Reinaldo is a registered architect in both Florida and Maryland, as well as a certified member of the NCARB. Alice’s expertise includes both high-rise architecture and interior design. Together, they run the Borges + Associates team’s design process. Borges + Associates is committed to sustainable design, promising to reduce energy use, water use, and CO2 emissions for their clients’ projects. The firm is also actively involved with the US Green Building Council. While headquartered in Miami, the company also has offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Jeddah.
The Infinity at Brickell is Miami’s tenth tallest building. The mixed-use high-rise built in the postmodernist style opened in 2008, taking only three years to constuct. The building has a white facade and stands 630 feet tall and has 52 floors, looking over 13th Street. The lower floors of the building is reserved for office and retail space while the upper floors have been reserved for residential units. Borges + Associates’ second featured project is the American Airlines Arena, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat, for which Reinaldo Borges was the project architect. The firm collaborated with Arquitectonica, another architectural firm which will make an appearance on this list. The arena itself boasts a total capacity of over 21,000, with room for a 2,000 car garage and restaurant spaces. The space also includes the Waterfront Theater, Florida’s largest theater.
Featured Architects: Dan Freed, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Address: 396 Alhambra Cir. South Tower, Suite #500, Coral Gables, FL 33134
CallisonRTKL is an international architecture, planning, and design firm that was formed in 2015 after the merger of Seattle’s Callison and Annapolis-based RTKL Associates. The team is comprised of over a thousand internationally-located design-savvy professionals. While headquartered in Baltimore, CallisonRTKL’s broad market has allowed them to contribute to the development of the city of Miami. The Office Director in their Miami office is Dan Freed, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. Freed, also a member of the Urban Land Institute, started his career at CallisonRTKL as a designer, but with his expertise in hospitality and mixed-use projects helped him climb to the leadership position he holds today. He is known for his contemporary design and aesthetic, which he has used on projects as far away as Asia and the Middle East. The University of Arizona graduate’s work is currently exploring the rise of community-oriented, mixed-use development in Latin America.
CallisonRTKL designed the first US location for the Mandarin Oriental, a premier hotel chain with 28 locations worldwide. Located on the 44-acre man-made island known as Brickell Key and overlooking Biscayne Bay, the 18-floor hotel contains 295 guest rooms, 31 suites, and 3 restaurants to serve them all. The curving exterior walls of the building call back to Mandarin Oriental’s fan logo as well as Miami’s sailboats. CallisonRTKL’s design made ample use of glass and stucco to keep the costs affordable. Meanwhile, Brickell Financial Center is located Downtown and is one of the top 50 tallest buildings in Miami. The building is comprised of two high-rise towers and a plaza area that was meant to stand toe-to-toe with New York’s Rockefeller Plaza. CallisonRTKL made use of green design philosophy in the design of the 40-story, 520-foot tall office building which also happens to light up at night in a variety of colors.
Fullerton Group Architects
Featured Architects: John Pierce Fullerton
Address: 366 Altara Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33146
The Fullerton Group Architects, formerly known as Fullerton & Associates, has been building its blue-ribbon reputation for great designs since 1979. The firm’s team provides architecture, interior design, land planning, and other services for their clients. Founding Partner John Pierce Fullerton, a graduate of the University of Florida, has been designing buildings for Miami’s skyline since he started as a draftsman in 1967. He and his architectural college roommate started with resort hotel and hospitality projects throughout the Southeast United States before branching out to other markets. The Fullerton Group’s projects have ranged from commercial spaces to residential units since its initial inception in 1979. The firm is guided by the philosophy that “Good Design is Good Business,” and it follows that their designs are known for their energetic style. Fullerton himself has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Architecture by AIA Miami.
The Vizcayne is located in northeastern Downtown and consists of a north tower, a south tower, and a retail center. The towers are tied for the position of the 28th tallest buildings in Miami, standing tall at 49 floors and 538 feet each. Formerly known as Everglades on the Bay, the Vizcayne stands on the site of the former Everglades Hotel, which closed in 2003. The Vizcayne was completed five years later after three years of construction. Fullerton’s presence on the Miami skyline doesn’t stop there. The team is also responsible for the design of the Soleil, located Downtown and completed in the same year as the Vizcayne. In the design, Fullerton’s goal was to create an elegant yet simple building that would act as the lantern of Biscayne Boulevard. The Soleil is 37 stories tall and includes a four-story view-corridor on the deck level. To add to the effect, this opening is illuminated.
Address: 201 N Franklin St. Suite #1800, Tampa, FL 33602
HOK is another internationally operating design, architecture, and engineering firm answering to Miami’s call as a city of the world. The firm, established in St. Louis in 1955, was originally known as Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, named after its three founding partners. Today, it is recognized as the largest US-based architecture-engineering firm and the third-largest interior design firm. HOK is an advocate of sustainable design. In fact, team members published The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design in 2000, which they updated in 2005. The team has more than 700 LEED accredited professionals within its ranks. The worldwide team has earned a great number of awards for their work, being recognized by the likes of the AIA Committee on the Environment, Building Design + Construction, the Urban Land Institute, and several AIA Chapters nationwide.
While HOK is not headquartered in Miami, their work has left a remarkable impact on the city’s landscape. The firm was in charge of modernizing and renovating the Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the city’s local football team, the Miami Dolphins. The cost of the project comes to a grand total of $350M and was started in 2015 when the stadium turned 29 years old. HOK started by replacing every seat in the stadium, installing amenities, and incorporating murals by local artists. The boxes were also updated so that each of them included four individual reclines and four programmable high-definition TVs. An open-air canopy was added in the following year, bringing shade to 92% of the stadium seats. Sports Illustrated has covered some of HOK’s works. The firm’s mindfulness when working with natural light is also present in the Florida International University’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum. Covered by the Miami Herald and awarded by Miami New Times, the galleries of the museum feature skylights that let UV-filtered light enter the building.
Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design
Featured Architects: Kobi Karp, AIA
Address: 2915 Biscayne Blvd. Suite #200, Miami, FL 33137
Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design, named after its founder, is a full-service architectural and interior design firm established in 1996. Kobi Karp is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology, earning degrees in both Architecture and Environmental Design. He started his career working in hospitality and resort projects throughout the United States and the Caribbean. One of his biggest contributions to the city of Miami is his restoration design work on the world-famous Art Deco District of Miami Beach. Under his leadership, KKAID has received the Governor’s Recognition in both Florida and Minnesota, as well as the Key to Miami-Dade County. Since its founding, the firm has been involved in the completion of more than $10B in commercial, residential, and mixed-use properties.
The Lima will be located in Wynwood, north of the Margaret Pace Park. The mixed-use building will contain spaces for condominiums, offices, parking, and retail shops. It will total a hefty $60M to construct and rise 43 floors over Miami. The design incorporates the MiMo style, featuring aluminum louvers and concrete canopies that illustrate movement. Nancy Karp served as a development partner for this project. The Star Lofts on the Bay building was also built in Wynwood. The blue and white face of the building has views of both the city and Biscayne Bay. It is built in the modernist style and rises 26 floors and 280 feet above the ground. Construction lasted from 2005 to 2007, costing $20M to build. Within, an 80-foot atrium can be found inside of a meditation garden.
Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, Inc.
Featured Architects: John R. Nichols, Bruce F. Brosch, Donald F. Wolfe, and James P. Wurst
Address: 161 Almeria Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33134
Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates’ forty years in the architecture industry has seen the completion of more than $5B-worth of construction. The firm is regarded internationally as a leader of mixed-use, hotel, and high-end planning and design projects, taking clients such as Marriott, Westin, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, and Sheraton. Characterizing their most recent work is a dedication to sustainable ideals to carry them forward for the next forty years. The firm’s principals include the four men the firm is named after. John R. Nichols founded NBWW in 1967, and he is presently a member of the ULI and the NCARB. Bruce F. Brosch joined the team a decade later and has acted as the firm’s project designer and manager for its biggest projects. Donald F. Wolfe brings experience with not only hotel and resort projects, but theme park and entertainment design as well. Finally, James P. Wurst has been involved in the firm’s work in the Caribbean and California. The team has most recently been recognized by the Miami Hospitality Design Awards, the South Florida Business Journal, and the ULI.
The Wells Fargo Center is one of the most impressive offerings in NBWW’s portfolio. The design contains 750,000 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail space, as well as 384 rooms of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel and the Hotel Beaux Arts Miami. The first hotel features 80,000 square feet of meeting space and an entertainment complex with an NBA-approved basketball court. The latter makes sense because the O’Neal Group, Shaquille O’Neal’s building-development company, is involved with the project. Not only does the Wells Fargo Center pack an impressive set of features, but it is also LEED Gold certified. It earned NBWW the 2011 ULI Vision Award. Currently in development is NBWW’s 76-story mixed-use tower, 18 at 8th Street. Built on one of the busiest intersections in Miami, the space will feature 392 condominiums and 65,000 square feet of retail space. The building’s shape is styled to resemble a growing flower, curving towards the sky. Green terraces can be found on top of this building.
Featured Architects: Kurt Dannwolf, AIA, Ed O’Donnell, AIA, and Lachmee Chin, RID
Address: 2432 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL 33020
O’Donnell Dannwolf & Partners Architects is an architecture firm known for merging artistic visions with technology to create distinct designs fit for today’s evolving demands for a well-rounded structure. Kurt Dannwolf, AIA, Ed O’Donnell, AIA, and Lachmee Chin, RID are the three pillars of the OD+P Architects’ team. President Dannwolf is an award-winning registered architect in Florida and New York. He is an NCARB-certified architect with over 20 years of experience with high-rise and mixed-use buildings. Vice President O’Donnell also has two decades of experience, completing projects in South Florida for commercial, industrial, medical, and airport spaces. Finally, Chin is the Director of Interiors: his diverse heritage—he was born in Guyana and raised with an Indian background—has contributed greatly to her foundation in her award-winning designs. OD+P has received the honor of being featured in Architect Magazine, Today Florida, the Miami Herald, and The New York Times. The firm has been awarded the Award of Excellence by AIA Fort Lauderdale and AIA Miami and the Project Design of the Year by NAIOP.
Continuing Miami’s race to the heavens, when One Bayfront Plaza is completed, it will be the tallest skyscraper in Miami. The mixed-use development, designed in the modern style, has a total floor space of 3M square feet. It is considered to be Miami’s signature project and will end up with a total of 95 stories, 58 of which will be residential units, 17 will be office spaces, 11 will be hotel rooms, and the remaining will be reserved for retail. One Bayfront Plaza will rise 1,049 feet above Biscayne Bay with 360-degree panoramic views. Standing slightly lower than One Bayfront Plaza will be One Thousand Museum, which will be more than 60 stories of luxury condominiums. The building was designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Zaha Hadid, while OD+P was chosen as the Architect of Record. The design’s most striking feature is its sinuous façade, resembling a curved exoskeleton.
Oppenheim Architecture & Design
Featured Architects: Chad Oppenheim, FAIA
Address: 245 NE 37th St., Miami, FL 33137
Oppenheim Architecture & Design is a Miami-based architecture, planning, and interior design firm whose works are recognized by over 45 AIA awards and features in over 1,000 publications including the New York Times and the Architectural Record. Creating timeless architecture that is practical and aesthetic at the same time, connecting people to nature has been the team’s goal since day one. At the top is Principal and Lead Designer Chad Oppenheim, who is based in Miami. He founded Oppenheim Architecture in 1999, and in the last two decades the firm has gained recognition in South Florida and beyond completing projects in at least 23 countries. Oppenheim also serves as an adjunct professor of architecture at Florida International University and he is a proponent of green architecture. One of his most recent commercial designs for Manila, Philippines was the pilot project for the Filipino government’s first national sustainable design program.
Ten Museum Park is another skyscraper that has a spot on the list of Miami’s tallest buildings, this time located in northeastern Downtown. The 600,000-square-foot mixed-use high-rise that Oppenheim designed to embody urban sophistication. The building’s opulent amenities include private spas, a sky garden, and twelve rooftop pools. The firm advantageously designed the building to reflect the heat of the sun as well as withstand up to 140 mph wind. Its crystal blue face is supposed to be reminiscent of the city’s numerous cruise lines and serve as a welcoming beacon to the city. The Cor is a 480,000-square-foot mixed-use condominium standing 400 feet over the Design District. It is representative of its designer’s green stance, featuring wind turbines and solar hot water generation systems. Spaces within the building include commercial, office, fitness, and residential units, showcasing the building’s flexibility.