One of the least-noticed aspects of the design for Jade Signature, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed ultra-luxury condo palazzo in Sunny Isles Beach, which is now under construction, is its extremely expensive, highly engineered parking garage. And that's exactly the point. The oceanfront building's three-level garage will be entirely underground, going down just about 50 feet to the bottom of the elevator shafts (give or take a foot), on a piece of land that's three feet above sea level, through dirt that's just about the consistency of waterlogged swiss cheese... all to preserve the building's street level connections to the ocean. While every other giant condo in Sunny Isles Beach sits on a parking podium that would make the Statue of Liberty blush, Jade Signature will have a very elegant visual connection between the street, the building's lower amenity level, the pool, and finally the ocean.
How do they do it? Basically (like at the World Trade Center) it's the 'bath tub' method, with a twist. The garage is built in two parts. After putting down 150 foot deep pilings for the foundation, giant paddle drills bore down into the limestone, injecting it with concrete in the shape of the building. Then the middle is dug out. That's when they bring in the press for the really cool photo opps (see many more after the jump). Next, a 57-story luxury condo tower will be built on top and then, once the whole structure has settled under the weight of the tower, the rest of the garage will be built almost to the property lines, with thick metal and concrete bulkheads surrounding the garage, and not letting any water in. The cost for the 700+ spot parking garage, the deepest in Miami? "Off the charts" says Suffolk Construction, the contractor, who was apparently brought in to engineer this thing even before the developer, Edgardo Defortuna, chose the architects.