Arquitectonica’s first commercial building to get the wrecking ball

Property owner is reapplying for a permit to demolish the ziggurat-inspired building

TRD MIAMI /
Jan.January 29, 2018 10:30 AM

Arquitectonica’s Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Babylon Apartments (Credit: Google and Oceana Residences)

After recently losing its short-lived landmark status, an eye-catching building on Brickell Bay Drive, designed by Arquitectonica, may be demolished.

In a 4-1 vote, Miami commissioners moved to overturn the Babylon Apartments’ protected architectural landmark status, according to the Miami Herald. It was granted landmark status last year by the city’s historic preservation board, but the building’s owner appealed the decision, stating the 34-year-old, vacant building is in too poor of condition to maintain.

Francisco “Paco” Martinez Celorio has been wanting to tear down the building for years, according to the Miami Herald. He applied for a permit to demolish the six-story, ziggurat-inspired building in 2016 and is reapplying again, the Miami Herald reported.

Celorio’s attorney Jeffrey Bercow told the publication he and his client are fans of Arquitectonica’s work, “but not every work of a master deserves to be designated.”

Babylon Apartments, at 240 Southeast 14th Street, was Arquitectonica’s first commercial project. Preservationists say the building served as a template for other Arquitectonica buildings in Miami’s Brickell area, including the Atlantis, the high-rise with a square hole made famous by the television series Miami Vice.

Arquitectonica has designed projects in cities all over the world, including buildings in Paris and Shanghai. [Miami Herald]Amanda Rabines


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