May 21, 2024

“When we stop going back to nature, we cannot survive,” says Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, integrating nature into architecture in his first mixed-use project in the United States

A new era dawns in the heart of Miami. Amidst neon-lit avenues and coastal energies, three visionary developers stand as changemakers: Lionheart Capital, Leviathan Development, and Well Duo, all of whom converge their resources for urban transformation. At 4200 NE 2nd Avenue, their collective vision takes shape in the form of Mirai Design District—a name destined to make a mark in architecture.

Under the guidance of renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, Mirai promises to redefine elegance and simplicity in design. “Miami is the ideal place to show the future, and Mirai means future. By showing Mirai, I want to show the future of design,” says Kuma. 

The development marks Kengo Kuma and Associates’ first mixed-use project in the United States. Set to finish by the end of 2025, it aims to create a luxurious and uncluttered lifestyle in Miami, where “refined design and prime positioning” come together to offer a sophisticated shopping retreat. 

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“The biggest lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic is that when we stop going back to nature, we cannot survive,” says Kengo. Thus, he wants to “bring nature into the building” and his other projects.

Influenced by the nearby residential areas’ high greenery and low density, the team enlists landscape architecture firm Island Planning Corporation (IPC), led by Nathan Browning, to envision complementary greenscapes. IPC will ensure it executes Kengo’s vision of integrating nature into architecture, pioneering a design approach where the project acts as a mediator between the natural elements within the building and its surrounding environment. 

“We’ve arranged these set of corners to kind of go up and down, sort of breaking down the mask and creating kind of a village atmosphere, a lively place for people to come to shop, to work, and also to just be surrounded by nature,” says Kevin Clement, chief manager at Kengo Kuma and Associates. 

Italian lighting company Viabizzuno, on the other hand, will oversee lightscapes. This collaboration will ensure a harmonious fusion of natural elements and cutting-edge technology. 

By incorporating elements such as natural light and green spaces, architects can create environments that promote human well-being and minimise the ecological footprint of buildings. Beyond aesthetics, it can also help reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, and mitigate heat. 

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