Looking to bring people together and enhance the beautification of city-owned corridors, Miami Beach City Officials tasked architecture students from Design and Architecture Senior High School to create concepts for transportable parklets.
An award-winning public magnet school, DASH offers students a one-of-a-kind art and design curriculum complemented by rigorous academics. Students are prepared for their future careers by acquiring life and professional skills through hands-on activities such as the one presented by the City.
To select the winning design, City Officials were invited to the school’s jury where students presented their concepts and explained what their project is trying to accomplish. The 25 submissions all incorporated different creative approaches that reflect the essence of Miami. After much deliberation, the judges narrowed it down to Omar Leon’s “Synthesis” as it captured the new and fresh approach they were looking for.
The high school junior’s design was inspired by the veins in leaves which connect different parts of the plant to unify it as a whole. The inspiration came from a collaboration with the school’s graphic design students to create a symbol that would be used as the main element of the design. From there, Omar came up with the name “Synthesis.”
“When researching the term photosynthesis, I found that synthesis means to bring together, which is a perfect description of what this project is trying to accomplish, “said Leon.
Omar believes his design stood out from the rest because he included a seating area that interacts with the nearby spaces. This valuable design feature is intended to bring people in transit and surrounding areas together. He also designed the parklet to naturally blend with the surrounding environment.
“I designed it with a lot of wood because it needs to be constructed and deconstructed easily,” said Leon. “I also incorporated the use of ribbon plant to maintain a natural aspect. Additionally, the fabric used creates protection from sun or rain and moves with the wind similar to the leaves of a plant.”
With an interest in construction and craftsmanship and attention to detail, Omar has found a special connection to the field of architecture. Surprisingly, he only began drawing when he applied for DASH, but has excelled in it thus far. He believes there has been a significant shift in architecture that focuses on the environment, which is reflected in his design.
“Right now, architects focus on clean designs but throughout the years it fluctuates between really detailed designs to really simple designs,” said Leon.
In addition to having his project chosen to come to life, the bright student has been selected by his teachers to attend a summer program at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York where he will study Fashion Construction for three weeks. The scholarship is funded by the de la Cruz Foundation.
The City will install Omar’s pilot parklet on 41 Street in front of Tasty Beach Café to help stimulate activity and nightlife on the corridor. In conjunction with the artistic installation, the City will install storefront window covers designed by DASH students as well as corridor tree lighting.
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