DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE
mwworks Creates a Harmonious Fusion of Nature,
Light, and Craftsmanship in Miami Beach.
PHOTOGRAPHY: KEVIN SCOTT
Seattle-based architectural and interior design firm mwworks takes their award-winning designs to the East Coast, masterfully completing the aptly named project Ocean Drive, a spacious condominium unit located in Miami Beach, Florida, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Situated within a new residential tower, this single-floor unit spans 6,112 square feet. mwworks’ clients, who reside in Seattle and frequently travel, have strong ties to the panhandle and desired to return to their roots. In order to accommodate their family of six, two smaller units were combined through a comprehensive renovation, resulting in a five-bedroom beachfront retreat.
Initial discussions revolved around the ever-changing views offered by the space and the remarkable quality of light at this latitude. The design concept emerged from a desire to enhance
these phenomena and allow the interior architecture to serve as both a canvas and a frame. To achieve this goal, a detailed diagram was developed featuring a solid, shadowy service core surrounded by light-filled elemental volumes. The heart, constructed with dark tropical hardwood and meticulously detailed to emphasize mass and craftsmanship, forms the central component of the unit. A dropped ceiling, designed to accommodate services provided by the core, takes the form of a substantial wooden raft, creating a subtle compression effect when transitioning between public areas. Walls are expressed as solid wood slabs, and the wide plank floors are carefully matched to them.
Architecture and Interior: mwworks
General Contractor: Dowbuilt
Local Contractor: Woolems Inc
Engineer (MEP): Shamrock Engineering
Engineer (Low Volt): Visual Acoustics
Engineer (Structural): PCS Structural Solutions
Furnishings: Studio DIAA; Matt Anthony Designs
At the unit’s periphery, the elemental bedroom volumes are treated with pale, sandy tones of hand-troweled plaster, which reflect natural light deep into the floor plate. Doors are solid slabs with integrated, closer hardware, allowing for trimless jambs and simplified fixtures. Switches seamlessly integrated into the plaster walls minimize visual clutter. The irregular surface of the plaster highlights the changing qualities of light throughout the day, imparting a sense of softness to the private spaces.
Directly across from the elevator landing, a small alcove was created to serve as the entry point. The “moyo” wall, inspired by vernacular masonry ventilation blocks, is washed with natural light from an adjacent perceived court. Each block in the wall exhibits varied concrete mixes and interior geometry, contributing to an informal pattern that shifts and deforms across the assembly. Above the ceiling, a programmable LED array remains hidden, tracking the sun’s movement throughout the day and adjusting the light temperature accordingly. During nighttime, the small powder room integrated into the alcove is softly illuminated by moonlight.
Carved Countertops: The Vero Stone
Plaster (walls, master headboard): Cathy Connor Studio C
Wood (casework, floor, ceiling): Dowbuilt
Metal (casework, hardware, patinas): Dowbuilt
Interior Landscape Garden: Formaneta
Custom Concrete: John Dietrich
Concrete Tile Floor: Concrete Collaborative
Ceiling Fixtures: Eden
Dining Table: BDDW
Dining lamp: Lindsey Adelman
Wall Switches: mwworks
Plumbing Fixtures: La’azar Arencibia
Large concrete slab floor tiles in the gathering areas at the unit’s east and west ends reflect light onto the plaster ceilings above while providing a cool surface underfoot. A hierarchical arrangement of assemblies is established as the structural concrete deck extends beyond the glass window wall before transitioning into a plaster ceiling. The concrete columns are deliberately left unfinished, offering additional context to the nature of the intervention and the layers comprising the larger building structure.
Sheer curtains capture the coastal breezes, and vibrant textiles, woven baskets, and patterned floor coverings add a touch of softness. Amidst the neutral backdrop, various shades of blue, orange, and red pay homage to the native flora and fauna of southern Florida. Designed to be welcoming to guests and resilient to the sandy feet of children, this home reflects its surroundings’ tones, textures, and tropical climate, while the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail evoke a sense of permanence not commonly found in South Beach.