The MDO building is situated along southwest 84th Street, one lot south of Tamiami Trial. Its immediate context is defined by a myriad of strip shopping malls and speculative office buildings set hundreds of feet from the main road to accommodate expansive surface parking lots. The result is a cacophony of structures that is emblematic of Miami’s suburban landscape.
MDO reverses the typical urban patterns of the area by pressing the building close to the street and placing the surface parking lot along the rear of the property. Moreover, it sets itself in sharp contrast to its immediate neighbors by developing an architectural language of abstraction and restraint- where a few important elements, such as the recessed entry with its shop-front window, are set within large expanses of mute white walls that house nearly five thousand men’s suits within.
The main double-volume retail space is the central focus of the building. Its thickened walls are lined with stacked rows of merchandise and its ceiling is composed of modified pre-fabricated double tees. The heightened volume is an unexpected spatial experience flooded with natural light and in direct opposition to the cavernous, artificially-lit interiors, characteristic of the adjacent strip malls and office parks.
American Institute of Architects, Excellence in Architecture Built Award, Miami Chapter, MDO, 2012
Location: Miami, FL, US