OMA / shohei shigematsu has designed miami beach’s first underwater public sculpture park, snorkel trail and artificial reef. ‘ReefLine’ will function as an artificial reef to protect and preserve the city’s marine life and costal resilience and provide a critical habitat for endangered reef organisms, promoting biodiversity and enhancing coastal resilience. 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 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,‘ says shohei shigematsu, OMA partner. ‘we look forward to working with the diverse group of experts and professionals on our first underwater cultural masterplan and sculpture.’

OMA reefline
all images courtesy of OMA



spanning 7-miles, Reefline is a large-scale environmental public art project conceived by cultural placemaker ximena caminos, who will serve as the project’s artistic director, and bluelab preservation society. 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.

OMA reefline



‘ReefLine’ will be completed in phases, with the first mile slated to open december 2021. the first phase will open with permanent installations by argentine artist leandro erlich and shohei shigematsu/OMA. 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 — symbols 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, is taken out of its usual context and transformed into an underwater folly. 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, while the stairs rotate around a central forum for underwater activities.


meanwhile, artists ernesto neto and agustina woodgate have been tapped for subsequent commissions.

OMA reefline



‘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,’ says ximena caminos. ‘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.’ ReefLine has been developed in collaboration with coral morphologic and university of miami researchers and supported by the city of miami beach.

OMA / shohei shigematsu design 'ReefLine' underwater public sculpture park in miami beach

OMA / shohei shigematsu design 'ReefLine' underwater public sculpture park in miami beach

OMA / shohei shigematsu design 'ReefLine' underwater public sculpture park in miami beach



ReefLine leadership


artistic director & founder: ximena caminos
master planner: shoehei shigemastu/OMA
curatorial advisors: brandi reddick, cultural affairs manager, city of miami beach and jérôme sanz, independent curator

advisory board:
katherine fleming, founder and executive director, bridge initiative
colin foord, marine biologist and founder, coral morphologic
brian k. haus, professor and chair of the ocean sciences department, university of miami
diego lirman, ph.d., associate professor, university of miami
tori linder, program director + impact producer, path of the panther
landolfrhode-barbarigos, assistant professor, department of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, university of miami
elizabeth wheaton, environment & sustainability department, city of miami beach

nina azzarello I designboom

nov 19, 2020

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