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Audi Grows Commitment to the Environment with ‘re:design Simpson Park’ Project

  • Audi, city of Miami and famed landscape designer Enzo Enea and architect Chad Oppenheim collaborate on project
  • First phase of this philanthropic initiative to be inaugurated during Design Miami/ 2008
  • Project is part of Mayor Manny Diaz’ broader efforts to revitalize Miami’s green spaces

Audi today announced that the inauguration of the first phase of the ‘re:design Simpson Park’ project will occur during Design Miami/ 2008 on December 3rd at 9.30 am together with Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. ‘re:design Simpson Park’ is a philanthropic initiative in conjunction with the city of Miami aiming to revitalize the park as one of the very last original hammocks in Miami which were once a critical component of the city’s identity. Audi has partnered with renowned Swiss-based landscape designer Enzo Enea and Miami-based green architect Chad Oppenheim to donate a stunning new entrance to Simpson Park. In addition, Enea has developed conceptual plans to further enhance the park and develop its educational features in the future. ’re:design Simpson Park’ is part of the Mayor’s broader “Green Project.”

Audi had announced the project in December 2007 as part of its ongoing sponsorship of Design Miami/ together with Enea garden design and Oppenheim Architecture. “Audi’s commitment to corporate social responsibility has long been at the heart of our culture,” said Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president, Audi of America. “With relationships ranging from Best Buddies International to the G&P Foundation for Cancer Research we pride ourselves on working with the right organizations to make a difference globally and locally. Our continued involvement with Design Miami/ gave us the idea to give back on a local level – to the community that has supported the fair now in its fourth year. Pair this work with Audi’s industry-leading TDI clean diesel technology and it is clear that we have a powerful commitment to positively impacting the environment we all share.”

Located in area that has seen major urban development in recent years, but few green and recreational spaces, the historic Simpson Park was chosen to make it accessible to the community at large again. Enea redesigned the entrance by reinterpreting the native hammock in a contemporary fashion that would make people feel and thus understand the historical ecology of the Miami area. The entrance will introduce the visitor to the elements of the hammock- its native plants, unique light qualities, and sense of mystery by presenting these features in a contemporary manner that most visitors are familiar with. Oppenheim Architecture developed a spectacular street structure completely cladded with reclaimed wood materials. The proposed pavilion/orchid house will define the original Simpson Park wall, while embracing the existing trees and providing shade to the park’s visitors.

“This new phase of Simpson Park is a shining example of what can be accomplished when we are inspired to invest in our community,” said Mayor of Miami, Manny Diaz. “The City of Miami is profoundly grateful to Audi, Enea garden design and Oppenheim Architecture for helping us make this dream a reality and returning historic Simpson Park to the neighborhood.”

The idea of a ‘green’ community project was born in Chad Oppenheim’s living room. As both design and responsibility constitute key components of Audi’s philosophy, partnering up with two leading design brands in their respective field was a natural fit. Enzo Enea donated his conceptual design and Chad Oppenheim provided his own facilities for the project development. Audi contributed financially and managed the project and its communication throughout the past year. Enea’s team has also developed conceptual plans for further development of Simpson Park, which include an eco-friendly children’s playground, an installation of state of the art signs and educational kiosks and a low wood boardwalk that would run the length of the hammock without damaging or obstructing its natural beauty.

“I became interested in the Simpson Park project after realizing the many values this place holds for the city of Miami“said Enzo Enea. “The park is rich in historical and ecological wealth, and its aesthetic beauty makes it a perfect educational platform for the future Miami to learn about its past. The hammock itself became the inspiration for the design at Simpson Park. The beauty of its wilderness, with the dappling of light and shade, variety of plant textures, and unique plant forms are all things that were sought to be expressed in the final design. The hammock also has a great sense of mystery, but one of comfort that seeks to be explored. Our design serves as a welcoming entrance for those who feel the call to explore the wild beauty of the park.“

The park will serve as an educational space that will teach visitors both literally and passively. Literal learning will occur with trail signs that display information about the history of the park and the unique plants and animals that reside here. The park will teach passively by creating an aesthetic experience that will make people understand what the hammock is and how it would have felt for people in the past to be surrounded by this ecosystem. This holistic experience is what makes people realize the significance of such a resource, and encourages their stewardship and support for preservation of such spaces.

“Miami is my home and the reparation of its vital natural resources is of the utmost importance to me,” said Chad Oppenheim. “Social architecture – if it’s projects for low income housing, eco-friendly buildings or further green projects like this one – is one of the key requirements for society in the 21st century and is a fantastic way my company can contribute. And I am very proud to be able to do this for my home City.”

For the first quarter of 2009, a fundraising event for the ‘Friends of Simpson Park’ is planned. Other benefactors contributing to the project include Miami-based illumination planning company Uli+friends, catering company Lyon & Lyon, event agency SiiNC and creative agency Doink design.

Audi has set a company-wide goal to reduce C02 emissions by 20% by the 2012. The company’s TDI engines are the most successful efficiency technology in the world. With over 4.5 million cars with TDI engines sold globally, and the upcoming introduction of the 2009 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI to the U.S. market in 2009, Audi offers a technology that is simultaneously cleaner and more efficient than traditional gasoline, while still providing excellent performance.

About Enzo Enea
Enzo Enea is without a doubt the most prominent figure of today’s Swiss garden scene and an internationally recognized personality in his profession. He has received numerous honors, including Gold and Silver Awards at the Giardina exhibition in Zurich and the Gold Award at the famous Chelsea Flower Show in London in 1998. The fundamental basics of his garden design company were laid by his father 40 years ago with a stone fountain and terracotta pot trading company. Enzo Enea took over the company in and started to plan, design and construct gardens. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the Enea Company Group offers facilities in architectural garden planning and design, garden construction, and gardening care. As the company’s sole proprietor, Enzo Enea currently has a staff of 140 employees in Switzerland, Eastern Europe, North America, and Asia; with design offices in Rapperswil-Jona, Moscow, and Miami. To date, he has designed over 600 gardens with great attention to the smallest of details, from the first project sketches through the actual construction, for international clients including Tina Turner, the Prince of Lichtenstein, Prince Charles of Wales, and Formula 1 pilot Nick Heidfeld; among others.

About Chad Oppenheim
Chad Oppenheim is an alchemist of atmosphere—an architectural pioneer, specializing in creating powerful, sustainable and pragmatic solutions to complex project challenges. In the nine years since its inception, oppenheim architecture + design has won over thirty awards for its unique sensibility and ability to initiate new innovative concepts in the built environment. To date he has designed over 50 landmark structures throughout the United States, Brazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Venezuela and UAE.

About Simpson Park
The park was founded in 1913 when a group of concerned citizens and environmentalists appeared before the City Commission and requested that the 5.5 acres of native hardwood hammock, located at 15th Road (Broadway) and South Miami Avenue, be acquired from Mary Brickell and that it be preserved as a natural area for future generations to learn from and enjoy. Originally named “Jungle Park”, a man-made pond was built and the native vegetation began to be replaced with more showy exotics. The Hurricane of 1926 all but destroys the hammock as more exotics are introduced. In 1927, Dr. Carl Dahlburg, Chief Horticulturalist for the Department of Public Welfare is assigned to the restoration of the hammock and the removal of the exotic vegetation—without his dedication the park probably would not exist today. In the 1930’s, Jungle Park is renamed in memory of Dr. Charles Torrey Simpson, a prominent South Florida naturalist who worked for the preservation of Florida’s natural areas. In the 1960’s and 70’s, the park was threatened many times by development, as was saved by the surrounding community’s opposition. Today, restoration of the park’s native state continues and the park seeks to serve as an educational tool for Miami’s past.
“Year in and year out its greenery, its peace and quiet has appealed to me and from it I have learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life.” Charles Torrey Simpson on Florida’s Hammocks.

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