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Zyscovich Achitects Ccommissioned to Design Miami Beach Branch for BankUnited

MIAMI – BankUnited is expanding its presence in Florida and will open a new branch in Miami Beach. Zyscovich Architects has been commissioned to design the branch office in the heart of the South Beach commercial district at the corner of Alton Road and 17th Street.

The new location will be situated at the western edge of Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District. BankUnited believes the branch should be inspired by its location and clientele, as well as provide a link to the community and its residents. Zyscovich Architects has received approvals from the Miami Beach Design Review Board for its design that encompasses those objectives and construction documents are underway.

“In many historic districts, new buildings must look exactly like existing structures; however, Miami Beach wants new buildings to be different while extending the character of the neighboring ones,” said Zyscovich Architects Principal and Director of Design Suria Yaffar, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP. “For BankUnited, we will use innovative, modern material that will enhance the building’s historic elements. In effect, we are creating a ‘dialogue’ between the old and new.”

The Zyscovich design enables contributing characteristics to remain while adding progressive elements. Although the building is not historic because its original character has been altered through various renovations, the City of Miami Beach has deemed it a contributing building. The new design preserves certain important elements while adding a sleek, modern component to the building’s overall appearance.

The structure, which will be stripped to its shell, is being treated as a beautiful ruin that will be brought back to life. The new design also brings the building up to current codes.

Gerry Litrento, BankUnited’s senior executive vice president of Retail Banking, added, “The commercial and business markets are extremely important to BankUnited. As we expand our footprint across the state, we will design branches that meet the needs of these important audiences while complementing and enhancing the local neighborhoods we serve.”

The Zyscovich design incorporates new windows, a new entrance on the building’s south side, enhanced flow, drive-thru tellers, a canopy that extends over an existing parking lot and lush landscaping that softens the urban corner. Materials being used for the renovation include perforated metals, natural stone, glass, certified sustainable flooring and furniture, and a variety of energy-efficient products, such as LED lighting.

Bernard Zyscovich, AIA, founder and managing principal of Zyscovich Architects, noted, “The building is like a jewel, to which we are adding a contrasting setting. In keeping with the City’ Design Review Board recommendations, our design solution is both innovative and progressive while reflecting the existing character of its surrounding community.”

The Miami Beach BankUnited branch is expected to open in Fall 2011.

About BankUnited

BankUnited, one of the strongest and most well-capitalized banks in the country, is a wholly owned subsidiary of BankUnited Inc. (NYSE:BKU). Serving businesses and consumers in 13 Florida counties through more than 80 branches, BankUnited provides a wide range of commercial and consumer banking services. For additional information, call (877) 779-2265 or visit

About Zyscovich Architects

Established in 1977, Zyscovich Architects is a nationally renowned integrated urban design, architecture and interior design firm headquartered in downtown Miami with additional locations in West Palm Beach, Orlando, New York City, Bogota

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