Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design transforms Miami’s historic Surf Club by maintaining and incorporating the existing structure and creating a bold tension between historic details and clean modern lines


Miami, United States

Along the Atlantic coast in Miami Beach, architect Russel Pancoast’s famous 1920s Surf Club has been transformed into a Four Seasons hotel and residence by Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design Inc. with DeSimone consulting engineers.

The historic Surf Club, a bastion of old Miami glamour, is now a hotel and private residences with the restoration of the original Mediterranean Revival property and the addition of contemporary towers.

For its sustainable design that meets LEED standards, The Surf Club was recently awarded a 2022 Green Good Design Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

The Surf Club is known for its ornate, authentically detailed and well-proportioned original Mediterranean Revival structure, designed by Russell Pancoast in 1929.

The unique high and vaulted ceilings, majestic colonnades and massive fireplaces are also well-known features of the club.

With the idea of ​​history and contemporary ideas merging into one, a historic showcase building framed by a glassy modern backdrop, four new glass towers juxtapose old and new.

Three of the towers emerge from the original Russell Pancoast structure, causing a strong tension between past and present.

In the center, a new hotel tower floats above a historic courtyard, creating a four-story glass interior atrium.

The previously exclusive club becomes the hotel lobby, lounge, library, bar, restaurant, ballroom and other public areas, while the courtyards, gardens and terraces comprise the outdoor areas.

The grand “peacock alley” stretches from the street to the ocean.

The cantilevered club and hotel above them become centerpieces between two large glass volumes containing new residential areas.

To the north, three crystal sugar cubes are offset from the historic building to frame the original Mediterranean Revival structure.

A south tower boomerangs around a historic south courtyard and the preserved ocean cabins of the old club.

The original structure could not support additional loads; therefore, the glass towers had to be built around and above the existing conditions.

With the help of DeSimone consulting engineers, the design of post-tensioned elements, including the roof transfer, suspended columns and transfer plate, resolved the structural issues.

The program also required excavations under the existing historic Russell T. Pancoast structure to incorporate underground parking that spans the full 900 feet of the site allowing underground access between the three new separate glass towers and the historic building.

The overall design is a juxtaposition of historic South Florida and modern Miami lifestyle.

The two blend seamlessly into indoor and outdoor spaces.

Restoration of the existing courtyard, restaurants, bars and lounges allows residents to enjoy a vacation lifestyle and hotel amenities on their property while hotel guests interact with locals to their destination.

All occupants enjoy an exceptional turquoise view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Throughout the process, the entire team made it a priority to comply with and maintain the guidelines as well as the requirements to obtain the credits necessary for LEED certification.

Control measures range from material procurement to housekeeping.

For construction, all materials were inspected and approved before arriving on site.

Project: The Surf Club
Architects: Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design Inc.
Original architect: Russell Pancoast
Consulting engineers: DeSimone
Client: Four Seasons Hotel and Residences
Photographers: KKAID


Comments are closed.