The Museum Garage is a seven-story mixed-use retail and parking structure located in Dacra's Miami Design District. Featuring five dramatically different architectural facades and a painted mural, the project celebrates diverse creativity in keeping with the development's emphasis on innovative experiences in shopping and dining.

Terence Riley of K/R curated the project's unique aesthetics recruiting designers from WORKac, J.MAYER.H, Clavel Arquitectos, Nicolas Buffe and K/R (Keenen/Riley). Each of these designers approached their part of the structure with a wholly unique vision, custom engineered and fabricated by Zahner.

Completed Museum Garage
Completed Museum Garage

Complex Projects Begin with Design Assist

Each facade began with the Zahner Design Assist solution, a methodology of working collaboratively with design teams to bring each unique vision to reality. The Zahner Design Assist process involves deep critical thinking of all project aspects, assuring constructibility, safety, and aesthetic requirements are met. This step is crucial in discovering and solving issues that could arise in the shop and field, reducing the number of change orders and remaining within a project's budgetary parameters.

Rendering for the Museum Garage
Rendering for the Museum Garage

WORKac : More Than a Facade

New York–based WORKac designed the east facade, which wraps the corner onto the north elevation. Meandering walkways are concealed and revealed through precisely placed perforated aluminum panels, themselves creating shapes from the resulting negative space. Each panel is painted white on the exterior and a vibrant pink on the interior. The concrete substructure, painted in the same pink hue, becomes part of the overall design. The intent is to reveal glimpses of the activities taking place behind the screens, including a DJ booth and street art space among others.

The project presented several design challenges, which Zahner and the WORKac team solved during the Design Assist process:

  • Complex geometry around the various radii and at the ground tier
  • Anchorage solutions for the complex structure
  • Solving for non-continuous mullions
  • Two color, double-sided painting on perforated aluminum
WORKac exterior facade painted aluminum detail.
WORKac exterior facade painted aluminum detail.
WORKac interior pink painted aluminum detail.
WORKac interior pink painted aluminum detail.
Model for the initial WORKac design.
Model for the initial WORKac design.

J. Mayer H. : XOX

The Berlin-based practice of J. Mayer H. created XOX, a facade that translates the voids created in the WORKac elevation into volumetric, puzzle-like shapes fabricated in aluminum with Zahner engineered structural forms. These shapes are painted with stripes of black, blue, and red patterns similar to those found in the far north facade designed by K/R. According to the K/R website, the collaborative nature of designing a facade alongside other creatives is "an exciting innovative design strategy to explore collaboration, adjacencies, and cross-referencing." This portion of the project features embedded lighting on the perforated elements, imbuing the structure with an otherworldly glow.

During the Design Assist process, Zahner proprietary ZEPPS technology and Drop and Lock systems were combined to achieve the project's aesthetic. The development of the system enabled pre-skinning of all elements which allowed for shop-level control of the curved, multi-colored painted artwork. 

XOX by J. Mayer H.
XOX by J. Mayer H.
Detail of XOX by J. Mayer H.
Detail of XOX by J. Mayer H.

Nicolas Buffe : Serious Play

Nicolas Buffe, a French artist based in Tokyo, designed Serious Play. The facade references Buffe's studio practice, which is based on a multi-faceted interpretation of erudite and popular culture. The juxtaposition of classical and contemporary cultural references draw upon the humanist notion of Serio Ludere, meaning 'to play seriously,' hence the work's title.

Zahner fabricated the cartoon, baroque inspired images. Each section is cut from black and white layered HDPE and milled to reveal the artist's signature drawing style. The shapes are attached in varying standoff dimensions, achieving the artist's intent of visual depth. 


Nicolas Buffe Facade
Nicolas Buffe Facade

Through the Design Assist process, Zahner developed two custom systems that achieved the artist's intent of visual depth. These standoff systems were integrated with the Drop & Lock panel system that acts as a white canvas for Buffe's drawings. Many of the artwork elements have pre-attached luminaires behind them. Zahner solved for this by coordinating CNC cut paths on the reverse of the art pieces.

Overall view of Serious Play, a painted aluminum and milled black & white HDPE facade. by Nicolas Buffe.
Overall view of Serious Play, a painted aluminum and milled black & white HDPE facade. by Nicolas Buffe.
Detail of Serious Play by Nicolas Buffe.
Detail of Serious Play by Nicolas Buffe.

Clavel Arquitectos: Urban Jam

Clavel Arquitectos, based in Murcia and Miami, drew inspiration from the area's urban growth with their facade, Urban Jam. The design features 36 car shells painted in silver and gold. The car shells were fabricated by Entech Innovative and engineered to attach securely to the facade by Zahner.

Urban Jam by Clavel Arquitectos.
Urban Jam by Clavel Arquitectos.
Mock-up of Urban Jam by Clavel Arquitectos at Zahner Headquarters.
Mock-up of Urban Jam by Clavel Arquitectos at Zahner Headquarters.

Keenan Riley (K/R) : Barricades

Keenan Riley (K/R) designed Barricades, a facade inspired by parking barricade stripes. The orange and white striped triangular extrusions, some perforated and illuminated, are disrupted by varying sizes of protruding painted concrete planter boxes. Each planter box is surrounded by a mirror polished, stainless steel "picture frame".

Through the Design Assist process, the sloping slab of the parking structure was resolved with the rectilinear facade design through a secondary steel system that spans horizontally between concrete columns. This allowed the triangle extrusions to be shop-assembled, with mating head and sill extrusions, into units optimized for shipping and installation. 

K/R's Barricades facade features painted aluminum extrusions.
K/R's Barricades facade features painted aluminum extrusions.
Detail of Barricades by K/R. Painted aluminum extrusions engineered and fabricated by Zahner.
Detail of Barricades by K/R. Painted aluminum extrusions engineered and fabricated by Zahner.
Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Related Surface

Stainless Steel

Stainless steels are naturally reflective. Oxidation does not develop very rapidly and the surface remains very smooth. Having a tight, smooth surface enhances the corrosion resistance of stainless steel. The more the surface is polished, the better the long-term performance.During the production of stainless steels, the mill surface of the thick plate is cleaned of scale using strong acids. This process, known as pickling, dissolves the heavy oxides and free iron carbides that rise to the surface of the hot plate.Further reduction of the stainless-steel thickness is performed on cold semi-polished rolls. These rolls impart a smooth, reflective sheen on the surface of the metal. This initial sheen is the base for all subsequent finishes. The surface is designated as a No. 2B finish. Dull sheens can also be developed using rolls that have a dull surface. These initial finishes are known as No. 2DThe more specular No. 2B finish can be further enhanced by special annealing processes. Annealing the stainless steel in a controlled atmosphere will create a mirrorlike surface known as Bright Annealed, designated as No. 2BA. The No. 2BA can be the base surface for glass bead, No. 8 and No. 9 mirror surfaces, as well as fine satin finishes. The No. 2BA will provide a consistent color and surface for the more refined surfaces.The reflective character of the various stainless-steel finishes can be divided into three categories as shown in Figure 2.4. The Reflective Finishes can be described as those that reflect light similar to a mirror. A bright light will reflect as a "hot spot." The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. Very little scattering of light occurs. The No. 9 finish is the equivalent to a mirror on one scale while the No. 2B finish is somewhat smoky.Disturbing the even reflective surfaces with minute surface fractures or indentations, which scatter the reflected light slightly, produces the Diffused Reflective Finishes. Because these finishes are typically applied over the Reflective Finishes, they possess a brightness, an almost glowing behavior when in strong light.The Low Reflective Finishes possess a dull reflection. Light is effectively scattered by the rough surface. and these surfaces appear flat in most light.Because of its chrome content stainless steel reflects 49 percent of the visible wavelength of light. It is much more heavily weighted toward the blue wavelength and captures well the tone of the sky. On cloudy days, stainless steel will appear with very little luster. This is due in part to the scattering effect of the clouds, which reduces the blue segment of the wavelength of light reaching the stainless-steel surface.Because of the specular nature of stainless steel surfaces, slight variations in plane can affect the relative color. Moving around the surface changes the angle of view from one surface of a plate or panel relative to another. The more direct the reflection, the lighter the color. The panel that is slightly askew will appear darker in strong light. A stainless-steel surface can look dark from one angle of view, then light in color from a different angle of view. The difference can be only a few degrees out of plane. This faceted reflection is common in stainless steel thin-plate surfaces. This is also why "oil-canning" tendencies are greater in reflective metals such as stainless steel. The relative high and low points in a stainless-steel surface reflect light back to the viewer at varying angles, which create apparent visual distortions in the surface.When fabricated and installed correctly, the reflection is not distorted by the undulating surface. Light washes over the diffused reflective surface in straight lines. The mirror reflective surfaces show straight lines as straight images and not curved images.Stainless-steel surfaces, particularly the diffused finishes such as No. 4 satin, angel hair, and glass-bead-blast surfaces, reflect the colors and shadows of the surrounding environment, but in a more scattered, subdued fashion. Visual defects such as chatter are more visible in reflective stainless-steel surfaces than in most other materials. Chatter defects are caused when the polishing belts slip during the application of the finish. Whether the finish is a linear satin finish, such as a No. 4 or No. 3, or a mirror finish, slight reflective differences caused by the slipping of the polishing belts will create a series of visual lines of distorted reflection. The viewer cannot feel the distortion, but it is apparent when viewing the surface at an acute angle. These distortions are not repairable.

Mockup sample for WorkAC.
Mockup sample for WorkAC.
J. Mayer H. mockup.
J. Mayer H. mockup.
Nicolas Buffe milled black & white HOPE aluminum.
Nicolas Buffe milled black & white HOPE aluminum.
Initial mockup for K/R Architects.
Initial mockup for K/R Architects.