Soho Beach House Garden

Soho House has opened its Soho Beach House on the site of the Sovereign hotel, a landmark 1940’s Art Deco building, in Miami Beach, Florida. The landscape design is more so a creation of intricate outdoor spaces than a showcase of plant diversity. Raymond was restricted to using only native plants in the easternmost beach side portion of the garden except for repositioned, existing coconut palms. Nonetheless, a very intense, intricate, yet simplistic vibe exudes from the beach front plantings to the restaurant’s Silver Buttonwoods. The Silver Buttonwoods provide shade and scale for the restaurant, which has a bar, retractable awning roof and trellis structure. Tropical plants drip from the trellis, positioning the dining participant in a verdant environment.

A sense of unity grows from the interior to the exterior environments. Raymond linked the open air garden spaces with the beautiful and bold lines of the new tower and the streamlined nature of the original Art Deco building, conjuring a beach chic oasis. Garden spaces undulate the length of the property, culminating at the public beach walk and lush sand dunes.

Private garden areas at different levels begin to inform what the spaces are going to be. These levels came about by the fact that the fill generated on-site by the excavation of the tower’s footings and grade beams needed to remain on-site. Jungles used this to his advantage. Elevated gardens were created adjacent the boardwalk and down the side of the simple rectangular-shaped pool. The 100 foot pool sits above the ground plane allowing water to circulate over all four sides, like a mirror floating in the space. Large gestures of communal lounge furniture allow for ample sunbathing along with semiprivate beach chic garden and cabana areas.

Overall, there were very limited areas for landscape on-site. Much of the ground plane was designated for people, furniture and functions. The resulting plant palate is intensive, lush, and salt-tolerant. Native Florida plants were chosen, including specimen Sabal palms, specimen Silver Buttonwoods, Spanish Stopper, Green Thatch palms and Sea Grape. Soon, these plants will look as if they have always been on this stretch of the beach.

Raymond’s favorite spot is the second floor club bar. Views to the Atlantic, beach, and garden are spectacular from this vantage.

Completed: 2010
Location: Miami Beach, Florida
Photography: Robin Hill and Steven Brooke

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