The latest addition to the city’s outdoor art scene is not on a wall, it’s on a roof.
The upper parking deck of the new Fourth District Court of Appeal garage, at 110 S. Tamarind Ave., boasts a colorful mural by Argentine-born Miami artist Cecilia Lueza.
The design, traced out with a laser instrument, was inspired by bright South Florida colors and tropical weather, the artist said. “Skylanes” is meant to provide “a welcoming focal point which engages the public while creating a unique identity and visual spotlight” for the court, she said.
The $26 million project came along just as the city was working on an ordinance to beautify rooftop parking decks, particularly as the boom in downtown construction means there’ll be more and more apartment residents, hotel guests and office workers looking down on buildings below.
Initial drafts of the ordinance said that if developers wanted to use the tops of their buildings’ garages for parking, they’d have to adorn them with landscaping. That could have meant maintenance costs, with irrigation pipes, rust and other problems, from the increasing weight of dirt added over time to the fact that trees grow, said Chief Judge Jonathan Gerber.
So the court’s planners helped convince the city to allow murals as an alternative, as has been done in Miami and elsewhere. “We thought we could do something that would be visually appealing but in a much more longterm and shortterm cost-efficient manner,” Gerber said.