Reaching 54 stories high, the 154-residence Turnberry Ocean Club, along prime beachfront in Sunny Isles, is set to redefine luxury living along Florida's Riviera. Wielded by two industry giants—Carlos Zapata, whose architectural work has won numerous international accolades, and Robert Swedroe, the architect of record best known for pioneering the condominium's private, direct-entry elevators—the building boasts well-designed apartments and a three-level private club perched on the 30th floor, with pools, spas, salons and private dining options. Moderated by STYLED Magazine's editor-in-chief, Anetta Nowosielska, Swedroe and Zapata reminisce about the project that brought them together and contemplate the persistent legacy of good design.
You are both making a considerable contribution to the rapidly changing skyline of Sunny Isles. How do you feel about this shift on the horizon?
Carlos Zapata: I can honesty say that there is no better person to speak about the evolution of the area than Robert Swedroe, since he has worked tirelessly here and has seen this evolution firsthand.
Robert Swedroe: Well, thank you, Carlos. Yes, I've worked in this area for decades and the changes are impressive, but not altogether unexpected. We've designed Turnberry Ocean Club as if we were going to live in it. What that means is that next to the overhyped buildings in the area, we feel very strongly that our floor plans are the best option for anyone looking to live in Sunny Isles. This building is designed for the end user, and its public and private spaces are incredibly well-articulated.
CZ: Looking from outside in, the most significant part of the building is the Sky Club, a threelevel amenity club. Ocean Club offers not only the best layout options, but also a lifestyle that centers around the 30th floor, with a 360-degree view of all of Sunny Isles with multiple decks and cantilever pools. And I can say that doesn't exist in any other buildings, not only in Sunny Isles, but [in] all of Miami.
How was it to collaborate on this project?
CZ: Working with Bob was extremely easy and simple. Bob's experience in Miami and with Turnberry Associates is impressive. He has done endless work with the client, and he just gets the language. One of Bob's great attributes is his knowledge of layout and his floor plans, which are so innovative. He brought the layout to another level on this project. I focused on bringing the building from outside in and connected it to the landscape and the outdoors. It's what we call 'giving the project its form.' For me, the collaboration was extremely easy. What about you, Bob?
RS: What I really appreciated was Carlos' understanding of what my team wanted to achieve, which we, in turn, reciprocated. I think that this mutual respect led to such compatibility.
CZ: We never asked each other to compromise. So the collaboration was a true joint effort because of the liberty we have entrusted to one another.
What do you think was Swedroe's biggest challenge o n thisproject?
CZ: We were fortunate to have a great team that supported us. But, of course, there were issues, which Bob handled incredibly well. We had some issues pulling the parking out of the water, which presented us with a lot of technical problems. But his team prevailed, and, step by step, it was resolved, until the whole thing came together. Miami codes are really challenging for any developer. Bob's team has done an incredible amount of work in this area, so he knew exactly what to do. I can think of another challenge, which was the cantilever pool.
RS: Well, I'd say that was more an issue for the structural engineers, but... CZ: You are right. And I'd add that any time you aim to do something that hasn't been done before, you always come up against challenges. Fortunately for us, we were able to make our way out of these issues and, finally, like a puzzle, all the pieces came together.
What was your reaction when you learned about plans for the 30th -floor Sky Club, which hasn't been done before in Miami?
RS: Of course I was so excited about it. That's not to say that I had some false notions that it would be easy to accomplish. In essence, I saw this project as two separate buildings in one envelope. There is the private part and the public, and each sphere is equally important. And the amazing thing is that Ocean Club is the only building in the area that has a full, complete model apartment available for prospecting clients. Carlos, you should come down to Miami just to see it.
Speaking of residences, what are your private homes like?
CZ: I live in the middle of Soho in New York, in an open loft.
But if I were to move to Miami, I would definitely move into Ocean Club. I truly believe that these units have amazing feel and balance.
RS: I live in a compound with 250 feet on a wide bay. I have four buildings here, which include the principle home that's essentially five levels, my art studio, a boathouse and the guest quarters. I also have an aviary for my birds. All of it is rather special and it sometimes feels like I live in a zoo. Carlos, next time you are in Miami, you have to come over for drinks.
Mr. Swedroe , you once said that one is only as good as his last project . How will Ocean Clubst and the test of time?
RS: It's going to be hard to top this one, but I'm sure we will think of new things to make architecture even better. There is a rule in this business that I believe in. If you do good, quality work, its value will always increase. I'm very proud of what we were able to accomplish, but I'm always looking forward to the next thing.
CZ: There is a strong connection between buildings and the time they were created. In my opinion, every city has a building that defines the area. With this project, Sunny Isles has gained an iconic silhouette that will help decipher the city's visual code. And that's no small feat. Turnberryoceanclub.Com.