Over the last three decades, Savino & Miller Design Studio (SMDS) has worked passionately to make a beneficial impact on the landscape of Miami and South Florida. The firm’s landscape works celebrate Florida’s rich ecology and engage people in an appreciation of its outdoor spaces. SMDS’ work is rooted in the conviction that landscape architecture is a vital tool in the advancement of cultural and environmental stewardship, and is the reason the firm executes both public and private projects at all economic levels and scales.
Savino & Miller Design Studio’s approach to design and project success begins with the belief that landscape architecture, through its contributions to the human condition and ecology upon which it thrives, is essential in the shaping our environment and well-being. Through this conviction, the firm has developed an innovative and inspired vision, designing environments that manifest beauty and resiliency while incorporating the principles of human engagement and resource-conservative site planning.
The firm has cultivated an interdisciplinary approach to its work. Through SMDS’ interaction with the professional disciplines of design, the sciences, and the arts, it has been successful in collaborating with community leaders and clients to encourage a more socially and ecologically responsible way of building. SMDS’ advocacy, reflected in its work and community involvement, challenges entrenched bureaucratic policy and standard building practices to help educate and influence developers and decision-makers in adopting a greener, more sustainable approach to project and community design in South Florida.
SMDS’ portfolio of award-winning projects and community involvement demonstrates its commitment in making a beneficial impact on human and natural systems. SMDS strives to create spaces that possess a strong sense of place, and are interwoven with the community and its surrounding neighborhoods. The firm’s passion inspires its clients to embrace sustainable practices and engage in community-oriented design.
Aventura Optima Plaza is a project that synthesizes architecture and nature. The roof gardens are designed to create a workplace environment that encourages social interaction and wellness hin a sustainable, tropical landscape. The landscape engages and invites the user to leave the confines of their office space to participate in healthy, stress-reducing activities, and relax in a tranquil, natural setting.
The 5th floor terrace is designed as an oasis of water and lush vegetation, surrounding an island scaled to allow intimacy while large enough to host small office events. The green roof was conceived to balance the loss of green space and stormwater retention caused by the site’s development by lifting a “native” landscape to the roof of the building. Rolling walls are designed in a bell wave pattern to create constantly changing perspectives of the garden. Reclaimed wood walkways bisect the green roof gardens at regular intervals, opening and linking access to the garden and running track.
Native, drought-tolerant plants are specified throughout the site, reducing maintenance requirements and irrigation. Water used for irrigation is drawn from a dedicated cistern, which is supplied by capture of the building and green roof storm water drainage. At the time of its completion in 2012, Aventura Optima was one of two Platinum-certified LEED office buildings in Florida. The project received the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 2015 Award of Excellence.
The City of Miami Beach Future Community Park is a natural, passive park located at the former city golf course in a residential neighborhood adjacent to the local high school and youth center. As one of the only open green spaces in Miami Beach, our mission is to create a place of natural beauty for community recreation and enrichment, reflecting the island’s culture and ecology while serving as a model of sustainability, stewardship and resilience.
The park design addresses sea level rise, an issue critical to Miami Beach, and the community’s recreational needs. A central lake functions as a visual/spatial focal point, with a central island built around an existing rare Ficus tree and accessed by a serpentine boardwalk. The lake’s siting disperses the open play areas, allowing various games and informal activities to occur simultaneously in the park. The hills pay homage to the site’s history as a golf course, and provide a varied topography and enhanced views. Existing trees will be preserved and the new planting calls for wetlands, littoral zones, hammocks, pollinator friendly lawns, a butterfly garden and a community garden.
The park is designed as a potential model for barrier island neighborhood resiliency. It will address the growing need for design of green infrastructure for stormwater retention and water quality improvements. At the same time, it will provide the community with a place to learn about, appreciate, and play in their natural environment.
The Miami Beach City Hall Center is an urban infill project located next to Miami Beach City Hall. The project links City Hall and a historic office building with the new parking facility by way of a bamboo promenade. This creates a powerful axis and shady pathway between buildings, while screening views from office windows to the adjacent garage. At the promenade’s terminus there is a plaza with a fountain at the intersection of two major streets. The plaza design incorporates three existing native Gumbo Limbo trees and three native Royal Palms as a point of departure for the plaza’s spatial configuration.
The use of strong axial forms and simple geometry, coupled with the splashing fountain water, lends a tranquil serenity to the space. Careful attention to existing circulation patterns helped to create new pedestrian routes while defining the spaces. The plaza space was slightly elevated with the use of low, perimeter seat-walls to provide visual and spatial interest, amplifying the sense of place.
Along the perimeter walls are a series of custom, stainless steel LED light “pylons”, which illuminate the plaza edge creating a bold definition of space. The fountain serves as a meeting point between the bamboo promenade and corner plaza, helping to mask the nearby traffic noise. Paving materials, selected for their local availability, incorporated native keystone accents, red concrete/coquina shell walkways, and large river rock under the bamboo for storm-water management.
Museum Park sits at the terminus of Government Cut, the City of Miami’s waterway axis from the Atlantic Ocean. It provides one of the few public opportunities to experience the City’s waterfront. In 2002, the City of Miami elected to incorporate two world-class museums into the park site to create a new cultural center.
This phase of the Park includes an entry promenade, a baywalk and two plazas, and a lawn. The promenade acts as the museums’ “front terrace” to the park. A grove of Royal Palms marches over sculptured hills and walls connecting Biscayne Boulevard to the Museums and Biscayne Bay. Garden rooms line the promenade, transitioning from coastal hammock, to tropical hammock, to butterfly garden habitats. At its terminus lays an upper plaza and grand staircase cascading towards the Bay where another plaza, with shellstone benches encircling Coconut Palms, overlooks the Bay. The baywalk provides a continuous user experience of the water and active port area. Shellstone benches, LED/solar lighting and coastal planting create an inviting place to sit and stroll. At its terminus, there is a waterfront plaza featuring a bronze sculpture, crushed granite walkways and stone benches under native, Wild Tamarind trees.
Cooper Robertson & Partners conceived the original Park Master Plan in 2006. Savino Miller Design Studio, the Team’s local landscape architect, was asked to redesign and value engineer it to $10 million due to the recession. Phase I was completed in 2014.