Mandala Hotel

Miami, Florida | in design

This 45-story technicolor tower hotel is cloaked in brilliant blue and green glass.

While most hotels of its type follow a low-rise format, Miami-based Shulman + Associates reorganized the hotel program into a vertical shaft nearly 500’ tall, rising atop a plinth. A place-maker for its owner/developer Mandala Holdings, the project occupies a small lot in the dense Omni district of Miami, engaging the ongoing development of the historic fabric of the city. Immediately adjacent to the hotel exist several generations of high-rise residences and hotels, from urban redevelopment projects of the 1980’s to contemporary residential towers, and low-rise historic structures such as the Miami Women’s Club and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.  Well-served by public transportation, and designed on the cusp of the arrival of significant new transportation infrastructure, this parking-less hotel illustrates the urban benefits of removing cars from buildings.

The plinth – a multi-use amenities area for the hotel, carefully follows the existing street frontages along the corner of North Bayshore and 15th Street, while a third façade of the building faces north toward the nave of Trinity Cathedral. The plinth is largely transparent, revealing the upper floor lobby and functional/meeting spaces of the hotel. Above, the tower is sculpted with rounded edges and tapers toward the sky. The façade, acting as a figurative cloak, is both revealing and mystifying.

Gradients of green and blue make up the façade, drawing inspiration from the stained glass windows of the adjacent cathedral, and evoking the liquid landscapes and floral abundance of Miami. From a distance, the multicolor panels appear smooth, while up close the glass becomes a pixelated mosaic pattern meant to break up the façade. An oculus, located above the street corner, focuses the eye toward the stair that connects the function rooms to the amenity deck above. In all, this striking hotel design redefines a sartorial expression used frequently in Miami: ‘tropical informal.’


© 2018 Shulman + Associates