In Collaboration with Coral Morphologic and University of Miami Researchers and supported by the City of Miami Beach The ReefLine will function as an artificial reef to protect and preserve Miami’s marine life and costal resilience.
The ReefLine will be a new 7-mile underwater public sculpture park, snorkel trail and artificial reef located off Miami Beach’s shoreline. The large-scale environmental public art project has been conceived by cultural placemaker Ximena Caminos, who will serve as the project’s Artistic director. Led by Shohei Shigematsu, OMA will design the ReefLine’s masterplan as well as a distinct sculpture within it, collaborating with a team of expert marine biologists, researchers, architects and costal engineers.
The ReefLine will provide a critical habitat for endangered reef organisms, promoting biodiversity and enhancing coastal resilience. For the masterplan, OMA has designed a geometric, concrete modular unit that can be deployed and stacked from South Beach to the north, following the topography of the sea bed. The living breakwater is the connective tissue for the overall masterplan and will be punctuated by a series of site-specific installations.
The project will be completed in phases, with the first mile slated to open December 2021—the first phase will open with permanent installations by Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich (b. 1973) and Shohei Shigematsu/OMA. Artists Ernesto Neto (b. 1964, Brazil) and Agustina Woodgate (b. 1981, Argentina) have been tapped for subsequent commissions.
Erlich will create an underwater incarnation of his popular sand-sculpted “traffic jam”, which was commissioned by the City of Miami Beach during Art Week Miami Beach 2019. Titled Concrete Coral, the site-specific installation will reframe cars and trucks—a symbol of the emissions that endanger our planet—as new vehicles for environmental change.
OMA/Shigematsu’s sculpture explores the nature of weightlessness underwater. The stair, a rudimentary architecture element suggestive of directionality and movement, is taken out of its usual context and transformed into an underwater folly. Like the circular formation of the atoll, a series of sinuous spiral stairs create a three-dimensional structure reminiscent of marine life. The organic form provides layered zones for coral reef growth and interstitial spaces for exploration. The stairs rotate around a central forum for underwater gathering and activities.
Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner, said: “We are excited to collaborate again with Ximena on a project that brings together culture and community. The ReefLine is unique because it brings attention to and mitigates the dangers of climate change in Miami, while simultaneously enriching the city’s vivid art scene. We look forward to working with the diverse group of experts and professionals on our first underwater cultural masterplan and sculpture.”
Ximena Caminos, said: “This series of artist-designed and scientist-informed artificial reefs will demonstrate to the world how tourism, artistic expression, and the creation critical habitat can be aligned. The ReefLine is a singular investment in civic infrastructure, public art and environmental protection that will pay dividends over the coming decades and attract ecologically-minded tourists and art lovers to Miami.”
The ReefLine was conceived by BlueLab Preservation Society and Coral Morphologic and will be developed in collaboration with the City of Miami Beach and researchers from University of Miami. The project received concept funding and support from the Knight Foundation’s Art Challenge Award 2019 and a Blavatnik Family Foundation grant, as well as endorsement from the XPRIZE Foundation.
Image courtesy of © OMA