A homegrown starchitect

If I were Arquitectonica co-founder Bernardo Fort-Brescia, I would have a hard time keeping my ego in check as I drive around Miami and see all the projects my firm has designed.

Coming up Brickell Avenue from my office in Coconut Grove I’d drive past the Atlantis condominium and think of how it helped catapult my company’s initial success and appeared in the opening credits for “Miami Vice.” I’d pass the Palace condominium and then Icon Brickell as I get ready to head over the Miami River. A few blocks away, I could drive by Brickell City Centre, Brickell Heights, the 500 Brickell condominium and the SLS Brickell Hotel and Residences.

Heading north, I’d take the curve onto Biscayne Boulevard and drive past One Miami and then the AmericanAirlines Arena and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. If I had time, I could go further north and go by the Marina Blue Condominium or head west to the Wilkie D. Ferguson U.S. Federal Courthouse.

If I took Interstate 195 to the beach, I’d pass the Blue Condominium. If I took the MacArthur Causeway, I’d pass the Miami Children’s Museum. At the beach, I might take a look at Artécity, Latitude, the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, the Ritz-Carlton Resorts and Residences, the Z Ocean Hotel or the Miami City Ballet building. If I needed a place to park, I’d pull into the Ballet Valet Parking Garage.

Sort of amazing, right? So, what does Fort-Brescia actually think when he drives around? You’ll have to look to the end of this issue’s cover story to get his answer.

I do have a few more takeaways about Fort-Brescia.

One is how he was one of the early ambassadors that helped make Miami a bigger player internationally. Developers globally took notice of what Arquitectonica was doing in Miami and you can see its projects all over the world.

He had a willingness to take risks early in the company’s history. Projects broke the mold and he wasn’t afraid to open offices in international markets.

Finally, it’s good to focus on your passion. Fort-Brescia’s passion is architecture, so that’s what he focuses on. He has a CEO in New York to handle the business operations of the company.

What’s next for Fort-Brescia? Given the SFBW December cover story on revitalization of the historic area of downtown Miami in December, I asked if he was going to be doing projects there. Yes, but he couldn’t talk about it yet. That will have to wait for another story.

Kevin Gale

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