“It’s essentially a cruise ship we maintain daily,” says Rishi Idnani, referring to The Continuum, a luxury condo complex on Miami Beach where he is Managing Director. The two-tower, 13-acre beachfront property recently underwent a massive infrastructure improvement 20 years after the building was completed, with a focus on keeping one step ahead of the weather elements that threaten the concrete foundation as well as modernizing the grand entryway.
“When we first started there was very little understanding overall about waterproofing and structural preservation,” explained Idnani. “In any luxury condominium, that’s not something you’re looking at when purchasing. You look at the the list of the amenities, your views, your floor plans, your building security.”
But about a year into the project the tragic condominium collapse in Miami’s suburb of Surfside occurred and residents suddenly became acutely aware of the need for the upgrades. “Homeowners who were not too familiar with structural preservation and waterproofing needs were definitely educated,” said Idnani. “They understand that Miami Dade County has more stringent requirements for a reason.”
The $8 million overhaul started at deep structural levels accessed through the underground garage. Here, slabs were exposed and repaired, the existing waterproofing system was removed and replaced with the most advanced version and new topping slabs were installed using 4000 PSI quality concrete. Above ground a state-of-the-art bi-level drainage system and hot rubberized asphalt waterproofing system were added to prevent water seepage. Idnani points out the two subterranean garages house hundreds of millions of dollars worth of vehicles, which are often the homeowners’ most expensive assets besides the condos themselves.
The new system is designed to last 20 years before needing another significant refurbishment, according to Idnani.
The structural work was completed by Concrete Protection & Restoration and Willcott Engineering who worked in conjunction with a trio of teams from the prestigious Arquitectonica design firm to integrate the infrastructure upgrades with a new entrance and improved landscaping.
Teams from ArquitectonicaGEO, ArquitectonicaSTUDIO and ArquitectonicaINTERIORS collaborated on increasing the green space across the 13 acre site by over 50%, redesigning the entrance so it captured the design goals of ‘infinite wellness’ and improving the areas shared with the public. This included planting salt-tolerant native trees and plants that can withstand the high winds and enhanced lighting along the public walkways leading to the restaurants and nightlife.
Just a few of the native trees that now surround the entrance are: Autograph Trees, Pigeon Plums, Green Buttonwoods, Gumbo Limbos, and several species of Palm Trees. The towering trees have had the unexpected impact of becoming social media stars in their own right with a surge of passersby stopping daily to take photos and post them online. This is especially true of the focal point specimen tree which is set upon a small concrete island: “It’s a flagship photo spot for many of the public,” says Idnani. “The trees have served well.”