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The Iconic Continuum Luxury Residences Unveils Its New Redevelopment As A Model Feat Of Architectural And Engineering Excellence

Written by:
Elliott Stares
Courtesy of Continuum

Award-winning division of Arquitectonica concludes a two-year project in Miami Beach that embodies sustainable beauty and the future of urban residential design.

As the first reconstruction in its 22-year history, structural integrity and preventative maintenance put focus on a broad renovation of the property’s foundation and façade.

The renowned Continuum oceanfront residences in Miami Beach is unveiling the property’s new urban redevelopment, marking the iconic community’s first environmental transformation in its entire 22-year history. The definitive new redesign and conservational enhancement by the original pioneer in contemporary luxury living has revitalized the South of Fifth neighborhood of Miami Beach, forming a model of architectural excellence while demonstrating an advancement in structural engineering innovation.

Starting in late 2017, the Continuum on South Beach Master Association commissioned the award-winning landscape architectural design firm ArquitectonicaGEO to create an outdoor concept for the Continuum that would transform and modernize the pedestrian and vehicle entrance with the adjoining grounds of the property. The goal was to elevate the overall “Arrival Experience” as more attractive for residents and visitors. The firm’s creative designers specializing in resilient and beautiful landscape architecture, together with sister companies ARQUITECTONICAINTERIORS and ARQUITECTONICASTUDIO, developed a vision that would infuse a more lavish and tropical design aesthetic for the entryway and arrival areas, with improved livability and new building materials that would rejuvenate select façades. As a result, the strategic “beautification” of the residential arrival experience has also brought new life and vitality to the surrounding South of Fifth neighborhood in Miami Beach and its pedestrian precinct. Despite a global pandemic and supply chain issues hampering its construction timeline, the redevelopment was completed within a planned two-year period, and within the Master Association’s $8 million budget allocation.

In addition to the functional landscaping and an enhanced entryway environment above ground, the core foundation of the property over the arrival areas was also refurbished to ensure structural integrity and long-term preventative maintenance beneath the surface.  Some of the most essential work carried-out for the duration of the redevelopment project was undertaken by Willcott Engineering and Baltimore based Concrete Protection & Restoration (CP&R), a structural contractor specializing in concrete restoration.  Paving on the roadway along the lower and upper entrance levels was replaced to allow for a brand-new drainage network to be installed above the vast underground parking garage.

“We are very excited to reveal our long-awaited redevelopment project that has fully transformed the arrival experience throughout the property,” says Rishi Idnani, Managing Director at the Continuum. “Not only have our grounds been elevated to a more modern-day and appealing design aesthetic, but the underlying bedrock of our community has been upgraded to a state-of-the-art level of safety following an extensive period of evaluation.  We have taken vast measures to ensure the long-term structural integrity and resilience of our land and buildings, taking into account the aggressive nature of South Florida’s environment and corrosive beachfront elements that effect every oceanfront development. The work we have completed will protect the Continuum for future decades and embellish the natural beauty, tranquility and biodiversity of our esteemed neighborhood.”

The Roadway Entrance into the Continuum from South Pointe Drive was the starting point for the team of structural engineers and urban design planners from ArquitectonicaGEO. The existing roadway was uplifted to make way for a new cobbled concrete surface, while the pathways either side of the road leading to the Lower Rotunda were also reconstructed and replaced with thinner masonry pavers in two different shades of grey for a more contemporary look. Pedestrians will now enjoy two wider parallel walkways in to the property while passing alongside newly planted hedges, ferns and native tall Floridian grass that line the road on either side and down the center, to separate the two roads flowing in both directions.  Additional trees have also been planted on either side of the entrance road among a number of Date Palms and Florida Thatch Palms. Stainless steel lighting fixtures have been placed along the roadway to illuminate the paths at night. Brand new Continuum signage for the property has been fixed on a large stone plaque at the entryway, made from a unique metal finish known as Kynar.

The Lower Rotunda has been transformed in to a shaded roundabout island that allows vehicles entering the property to maneuver in single file much more efficiently and safely towards the security ramp. Darker grey paving stones in a rectangular shape surround the edge of the Lower Rotunda in a circular fashion to form a contrast with the main entrance and exit roads, signifying the start of a new flow of traffic around a single Specimen Tree that has been plotted in to a small raised concrete island.  Newly positioned stainless steel lighting fixtures are also added for additional nighttime illumination for vehicles and pedestrians walking in the vicinity.

The Security Gatehouse has been paved with smooth brick-like tiles up the stretch of the ramp, with a single grey stretch of darker cobbled stones that absorb any sunlight reflecting off the ground and in to the eyes of the oncoming driver.  New Continuum signage welcomes residents and visitors at the beginning of the ramp in a black Kynar finish, as vehicles approach the security checkpoint. A raised polished grey concrete plant fixture runs parallel to the entrance ramp, containing various specimens of lavish shrubbery draped around two large Florida Thatch Palm trees that overlook several smaller palms.  The front security gatehouse has been completely reimagined and is stationed at the top of the ramp, complete with tinted black glass and encased in black squared polished slabs of tile for a striking contract against the pale grey brickwork beneath. A dark wooden veranda-style canopy made from Camaru wood, with a polished black trim, protrudes over the sliding door operated by security personnel, to provide shade when interacting with visitors on arrival.

The Upper Rotunda is a vast circular opening and an impressive centerpiece at the Continuum residences, that serves those vehicles entering and exiting, while separating arrival areas for both Continuum North Tower and South Tower residents and their guests for valet services. The design ethos and landscaping architectural theme adopted by ArquitectonicaGEO for the renovation of the Upper Rotunda was presented as “Infinite Wellbeing,” synonymous with the resort-style philosophy of the property. This busy outdoor space was transformed and redesigned to become a much-improved pedestrian area for use by residents and visitors.  Acting as the central island that governs the flow of traffic, is a newly installed circular Infinity Fountain fixture, encased in polished blue-grey granite stone, featuring white and silver effects on the outer surfaces. The shimmering pool is surrounded by semi-circular plant beds, adding a large embellishment of color from a hand-picked selection of matching flowers, shrubs, foliage and vegetation.  Scaled down square-shaped bricks in grey pave the entire Upper Rotunda, with smoother grey tiles surrounding the fountain in subtle contrast.

Valet Arrival and Departure Areas for both the Continuum North Tower and Continuum South Tower have been fully refurbished to match the functional design aesthetics embedded throughout the property. In harmonic balance with the Security Checkpoint, both valet areas at the entrance of each tower mirror each other, with large verandas that have been extended and reinforced with Camaru wood, projecting from outside each entrance, providing ample shade complete with white painted metal outer rim.  Plant and tree species that line either side of the valet areas for both towers include the Autograph Tree, Pigeon Plum, Green Buttonwood and Gumbo Limbo, intermingled with Date Palms and Florida Thatch Palms that tower over approaching vehicles.

The Concrete Restoration and Drainage System has played a major part in the redevelopment of the Continuum, with Mike O’Malley, co-owner and Vice President of Concrete Protection & Restoration, spearheading a complex overhaul of the foundation.

Every layer of the roadways and drive lanes that formed the entry point to the Continuum were uplifted, restored and replaced. The initial phase started at the angled entry road into the property, leading from South Pointe Drive to the Lower Rotunda. The security entrance and adjacent roadway would subsequently be refurbished, followed by foundation work around the Upper Rotunda.  Approximately 100,000 square feet of the Continuum’s entryway was completely renovated, whereby the deepest structural slabs were exposed and repaired, to reveal a waterproofing system that was removed, replaced and upgraded to a state-of-the-art system. Topping slabs were then replaced using a specialized repair mortar and 4000 PSI quality concrete that allowed for a final layer of pavers to be positioned alongside new curbing.

Due to the majority of the arrival area at the Continuum lying on top of the property’s underground parking garage, the new waterproofing system proved essential to replace and upgrade in order to protect the bones of the building and structural integrity of the parking space roofing. In addition to a newly installed hot rubberized asphalt waterproofing network, a state-of-the-art bi-level drainage system was placed on top, that would prevent water from setting on the structural slabbing, thus protecting the upper layers of concrete. This premium drainage system would also prevent decay, rusting and oxidization of the conventional reinforcing bars and post tension cables within the concrete itself, preventing the steel to expand and cause cracking. The entire restoration work is estimated to protect the foundation of the Continuum for at least 20 years.

Florida has one of nation’s most stringent building codes, and county rules require owners of older buildings to submit reports from licensed engineers or architects certifying a building’s safety or documenting repairs needed after 40 years, and every 10 years thereafter, to meet recertification standards.

The Continuum continues to partner with advocates of eco-friendly sustainability. Through innovative technologies, ArquitectonicaGEO projects aim to incorporate the best practices for conserving water, soil, plants, materials and energy, while ultimately aiming to satisfy human needs for health, safety, well-being and education. ArquitectonicaGEO’s SITES–certified landscapes help reduce water demand, filter and reduce stormwater runoff, provide wildlife habitat, reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, human health and increase outdoor recreation opportunities.

By Liliana Alvarez

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