We are a design studio focused on the development of new materials and techniques for building concepts.

Wynwood, Miami



The Wynwood Greenhouse Park is an open-air framework,  which inverts the normative relationship between interior domestic space and the exterior landscape.  This park places the native landscape under a playful roof and welcomes wildlife inside the exaggerated form of a domestic house.  In this way the structure acts as a folly, for interaction with nature, formally housing it within its walls. 


The design features an undulating roof structure with two roof-peaks which reference the two single family homes which previously existed on the site. As the two roofs merge and interact, pitching and warping, they blend into a playful hovering roofscape, relying on the familiar domestic roof shapes of peaks, dormers and eaves. This roofscape is an ultra-thin, open-air, shade-structure echoing the delicateness of the native butterflies which call the park home.  The hovering structural pattern of the roofscape provides a dynamic play of shadows over the landscape growing within which provides a rich and engaging habitat for native flora and fauna, and park visitors alike.


This lightweight framework additionally serves as a system for collaborative interaction, as the 3 collaborative disciplines of art, architecture, and landscape, fill into the empty frames, various components which make up the mosaic of park space.



Soft native grasses and wildflowers clustered on two mounds are reminiscent of the subtle rise of tree islands or cypress domes found within  the nearby Everglades and provide elevated topography from the adjacent grade.  The site’s existing and centrally located oak tree is preserved. Not only does it establish meaningful continuity with the site’s existing landscape, but it provides welcome shade together with the delicate metal structure above whose open air canopy frames the clouds. 

Miami is home to many colorful native butterflies.  An exclusive array of lush native plantings are selected to specifically attract butterflies to the greenhouse park.  These specific landscapes flank the east and west walls.  One side of the structure consists primarily of nectar plants for butterflies while the other is filled with host plants to showcase the entire life cycle of a butterfly garden unlike any other. FURNITURE
The idea of the park within the domestic space is echoed as human furniture is juxtaposed against the landscape in various ways.
Pocket benches are carved out of the three-foot thick perimeter walls.  Cut benches are carved into the massive butterfly mounds, and communal swings are suspended from the roof, creating places for visitors to experience weightlessness, by hovering above the ground with the butterflies.  Additionally there are large rearrange-able sets of seating, scattered organically along the walls like living room furniture.

Modular gabions change the density of the walls from porous concrete at the base, to planted walls that open up airy views to the sky.  These modular butterfly planters serve as prototypes which could be distributed throughout other sites in the neighborhood helping to restore the butterflies’ habitat.  Each growing-gabion is a specific butterfly host or nectar plant creating a mosaic like landscape and ecology.  Built-in irrigation and misting systems create welcome microclimates throughout the year. 


The north and south facades allow easy views in and out, framing the activities of the adjacent street and controlling access to the park during off hours with a light mesh and a shaggy, planted front door.  The north and south edges of the project dissolve towards the middle to underscore the continuity of a north-south axis of public space which manifests itself outside through the use of colorful bollards and newly painted crosswalks that echo the patterns of the Greenhouse canopy.

The Greenhouse is a park which doesn’t just carve out new space, but builds a new type of park space for people and nature to thrive.  This new space acknowledges both, the native landscape, as well as the native architectural cityscape of its site blending both into a dynamic space of overlaps.


The interdisciplinary team comprised by Nick Gelpi, Jim Drain, and Roberto Rovira were selected as winners from among 238 submissions from 23 countries for their design of “Wynwood Greehouse Park” in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

11 finalists were chosen by an esteemed panel of expert judges including: Enrique Norten – Founding Principal, TEN Arquitectos; Terence Riley – Principal, Keenan/Riley; Former Director of Miami Art Museum and Museum of Modern Art; Raymond Jungles, ASLA – FASLA, PLA, Founding Principal of Raymond Jungles, Inc.; Allan Shulman, FAIA, Principal, Shulman + Associates; James Russell, FAIA, architecture critic and journalist; Andrew Frey – Development Manager, Codina Group; Founder, DawnTown; Tony Cho – CEO and Founder, Metro 1 and Moderator- Joachim Perez, Executive Director of DawnTown

The competition was conceived by neighborhood visionary and Metro 1 President and CEO, Tony Cho, in partnership with DawnTown, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting architecture in Miami and AIA Miami, the local chapter of The American Institute of Architects, with the goal of creating a dynamic 14,000-square-foot space that offers the local community, visitors and tourists a place to come together and enjoy the neighborhood in a public environment. It is located at 2825 NW 2nd Avenue in Miami.

Other finalists for the competition were:  AGENCY Architecture LLC and Aranda/Lasch from New York City, New York; Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu / SO-IL and stpmj from Brooklyn, New York; Meyer + Silberberg – Land Architects from Berkeley, California; SFA fromMadrid, Spain; Colour: Urban Design Limited and Wayward Plants from London, England, AZC – Atelier Zundel Cristea from Paris, France and ONZ Architects from Ankara, Turkey.

We are truly honored to be selected from among such a prestigious group of competitors. We look forward to working with the city of Miami and Metro 1 to realize an ambitious vision that acknowledges the vibrancy of the Wynwood neighborhood and that emphasizes the unique natural wonders of south Florida. We hope that our park will be a place where people come together with nature and art in an urban environment, where everyone can feel at home and where people and nature thrive together.
-Nick Gelpi, Roberto Rovira, Jim Drain : official competition website and Press Release


Project Credits:
A design collaboration between Architect-Nick Gelpi, Landscape Architect-Roberto Rovira, and Artist-Jim Drain.

From GELPI Projects, Design Team: Dean McMurry, Alvaro Membreno, + Julia Sarduy.