The seed for what would become The Underline, a 120-acre linear park in Miami, was planted as Meg Daly took her daily ride on the city’s Metrorail. The future founder of the park noticed that the maintenance corridor beneath the track spanned 10 uninterrupted miles across the city. If that property could become public space, Daly thought, pedestrian and bike pathways could connect a sprawling, auto-centric city in new ways. Seven years later, Phase 1 of The Underline opened, immediately drawing locals and tourists to the half-mile stretch of park space.
Landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations and lighting designer HLB Lighting, both headquartered in New York, teamed up for the project. Alejandro Vazquez, a senior associate at Field Operations who served as project manager for The Underline, describes the first phase as a “procession of rooms with different characters and activities.”
The phase’s River Room section offers views of the Miami River and city skyline, providing residents of the Brickell neighborhood a connection to the river and a quiet, contemplative space for respite. The active Urban Gym offers a variety of physical activities, from yoga to basketball. The two-block-long Promenade is one of the busiest spots in the park. Filled with pedestrian commuters entering the Metrorail station on one side of the Promenade, a series of social spaces keeps this area bustling. The Oolite Room pays homage to the limestone geography of the region. Coral stone outcroppings and garden areas define this space as one for strolling, relaxing, and enjoying nature. A bike trail and pedestrian path connect these four distinct zones.
Arne area lights from Landscape Forms design partner Urbidermis Santa & Cole serve as a connecting element in the park. “The lights provide a continuous rhythm and act as a branding element for The Underline,” says HLB lighting designer Simi Burg.
Landscape Forms’ in-house lighting team developed several custom elements for Arne light application, including poles that meet clearance codes and can withstand Miami’s climate. “Arne lighting is one of our favorite site elements,” Field Operations’ principal Isabel Castilla explains the unique role the lights play in the park. “The Underline is flat. There are no canopy spaces, few tree plantings, nothing that could impede the trains running above. The light poles are the only vertical element in the park. They are functional and beautiful, and they’ve become something iconic within the park,” she says. “Arne gave us one vocabulary and an extremely successful fixture that is versatile but also uniform in its design.”