Canopy Park, Miami Beach’s new three-acre community park situated between the 600 and 700 blocks of Alton Road and designed by ArquitectonicaGEO, is now open to the public. Park-goers can enjoy open greenspaces shaded by native tree species, pedestrian trails and bike paths, an outdoor gym and dog run, a MONSTRUM-designed children’s playground, and public art displays. Designed with sustainability in mind, Canopy Park reflects how landscape architecture can serve as a green resiliency solution for coastal communities with a host of environmentally conscious features including a Maritime Hammock, bioswales, and a 25,000-gallon cistern to conserve and manage rainwater.
Canopy Park. Credit: World Red Eye.
Additionally, Canopy Park will connect to Miami Beach’s popular South of Fifth neighborhood and complete the Miami Beach Baywalk via a new signature pedestrian bridge designed by Daniel Buren spanning the MacArthur Causeway/5th Street, creating a safe and seamless connection running from South Pointe Park north to the Lincoln Road District and east to the beachfront.
Five Park Sales Gallery. Credit: World Red Eye.
“Instead of a massive wall of rental units, we now have this exquisite greenspace in a neighborhood where no one has a backyard,” said City of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “This park will quickly become a welcomed amenity for nearby residents and a favorite gathering spot for our entire community.”
“Canopy Park will be a gateway for the City of Miami Beach, a destination for visitors, and an everyday amenity for residents, so we’ve taken the time to assemble a team of visionaries who have led some of the most transformational projects in the world,” said developer Russell Galbut of TCH 500 Alton, LLC. “We’ve created a vibrant community asset that brings people together while providing a design experience that rivals public spaces in the world’s greatest cities.”
Dan Gelber, Russell Galbut, Dana Martorella, David Richardson, Ricky Arriola, Alina Hudak, Beverly Heller, David Martin, & Friends. Credit: World Red Eye.
A major design component of Canopy Park, which was imagined by landscape architect Laurinda Spear’s ArquitectonicaGEO, is a “natural play” playground by Danish design firm MONSTRUM, which is famous for creating artistic and architectural playscapes around the world. A standout element of the playground is an eye-catching slide paying homage to pioneer developer Carl G. Fisher’s cultural mascot Rosie the Elephant, an instrumental historical figure known for putting Miami Beach on the map as a luxury destination and “America’s winter playground” in the early 1920s. Infused with art and design, a distinctive sculpture by Miami-based artist Mark Handforth also enriches the outdoor space.
Monstrum Playground. Credit: World Red Eye.
“Canopy Park was designed with beautiful aesthetics in mind but also serves a broader environmental purpose,” said developer David Martin of TCH 500 Alton, LLC. “The park’s innovative sustainability and resiliency attributes will benefit not only the future residents of the adjacent Five Park tower, but also the entire surrounding neighborhood.”
Canopy Park was developed by TCH 500 Alton, LLC, a partnership between two of Miami Beach’s deepest-rooted real estate developers: David Martin and Russell Galbut. The development team, which is also behind the neighboring Five Park residential tower, constructed and donated the park to the City of Miami Beach’s Parks & Recreation Department as a gift to the community’s residents and visitors.
Canopy Park’s sustainability and resiliency features include:
- Vegetation, Biodiversity and Native Plant Communities: Canopy Park boasts lush, sustainable landscaping comprising nearly 40 different plant and tree species. There have been 221 trees and 121 palms newly planted in the park, of which 80 percent are native, and 100 percent are low maintenance and tolerant of drought. The incredibly varied plant biodiversity not only beautifies the area, but also performs incredibly important roles that will help balance ecosystems, mitigate soil erosion, decrease urban heating effects, provide habitats for threatened animals, and protect watersheds from destructive floods.
- Maritime Hammock and Habitat Restoration: In addition to the extensive tree canopy throughout the park, a Maritime Hammock, consisting of 2.6 times the required ground cover by code, anchors the north end of the park. The hammock offers crucial shade from the year-round sun, captures carbon and toxins from the air, and diminishes the urban heat island effect, cooling the surrounding area. It also restores natural habitats, regenerates roosting areas, and provides feeding opportunities for birds, bats, native bees, and other pollinators. Canopy Park aims to replicate the original tropical forests once found in Miami Beach to reinforce an original and stable ecosystem in the area.
- Irrigation, Water Conservation, and Rainwater Management: A weather-based irrigation controller and rain sensors limit watering during the rainy season. A 25,000-gallon cistern captures excess runoff during major storm events and irrigates plantings throughout the year, with a capacity to irrigate the park completely on collected rainwater for one week before needing replenishment. Green infrastructure solutions like bioswales and rain gardens allow for proper site filtration and management of all of the rainwater that enters the site. The resulting effect is that 90% of the stormwater is captured and diverted before it ever reaches Biscayne Bay, protecting wild grasses and native species from harmful debris and pollutants.
- The Million Orchid Project: In addition to the stunning greenery, Canopy Park is home to hundreds of vibrant, native orchids as part of The Million Orchid Project. Once an abundant, natural flower proliferating across Miami Beach, orchid numbers have dwindled as the City of Miami Beach has developed and expanded. To address this problem, The Million Orchid Project, the National Orchid Garden, and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden – alongside local volunteers and the park’s development team – joined forces to propagate and plant over 600 wild orchids throughout the park grounds to reinstate the majestic flower in Miami Beach.
Next door, construction is underway for what is to become the tallest building in Miami Beach. The development, dubbed Five Park, is designed by Arquitectonica with interiors by Gabellini Sheppard Associates and will rise approximately 546 feet across 48-stories. Plans for the project include 98 two-to-five bedroom fully-finished luxury residences ranging from 1,434 to 6,000 square feet paired with unparalleled five-star amenities, including Miami Beach’s premier resident-only members club, The Canopy Club. The project is estimated to be completed in 2024.
Approved plans for the site also include The Miami Beach Canopy Bridge, a signature pedestrian bridge spanning 5th Street designed by international artist Daniel Buren. The Miami Beach Canopy Bridge – subtitled Walking Under, Along, and On the Colors: work in-situ by Daniel Buren – will complete the Miami Beach Baywalk, creating a safe and seamless connection running from Southpointe Park North to the Lincoln Road District and East to the beachfront. The Miami Beach Canopy will become an instant landmark for Miami Beach and a beloved work of public art that guides pedestrians along a rainbow of colorful shadows. Construction of the pedestrian bridge is expected to get underway in 2023.