THE CONCOURS CLUB DEBUTS PRIVATE AUTOMOTIVE RESORT IN MIAMI
Miami is welcoming many firsts in the world of motorsports. As Formula One debuts its first-ever race in Florida, the roar of high-rev engines and the squealing of tires have become a more and more familiar alluring sound in the city. The most modern driving circuit in North America, called The Concours Club, opened in Miami in 2021, offering hyper racecar collectors and enthusiasts an exclusive resort for anything and everything automotive. This microcosm of motorsports is the creative conception of DMAC Architecture & Interiors, who designed and detailed almost every single aspect of the Club with Founder Neil Gehani.
designboom joins the unique design journey by speaking with Dwayne MacEwen, Principal of DMAC Architecture & Interiors, as he created the modern track experience in Miami.
The electric porsche taycan charging under the solar-panelled shade canopy
‘Everything we do as a practice exists in a cultural context,‘ begins Dwayne MacEwen in the interview with designboom. ‘Our approach begins with the site. It is incredibly important for me to see and be inspired by the location when designing. I think a lot of our inspiration comes from these initial (and ongoing) site visits. Architecture You should always engage the user at a human scale and give back to the place, embedding cultural context in the design. This immersion into the spaceour hands-on mentality and trust in the process was very apparent with The Concours Club.‘
Dwayne MacEwen, Principal of DMAC Architecture & Interiors, believes in storytelling. Everything the firm designs matters – and this really does mean everythingespecially in the case of The Concours Club. Originally Dwayne and his team were commissioned to design one or two buildings for the Club, but ultimately was given guardianship of the project to realize Neil’s vision. Their creative process is deeply rooted in site visits, understanding the needs of the user, and designing unique experiences. At the auto resort in Miami, this ranged from the overall master plans through to the lighting and even the artwork.
‘Dwayne and his team at DMAC Architecture & Interiors played an integral role in bringing my vision to reality,‘ explains Neil Gehani, founder of The Concours Club. ‘I appreciated the unique design, level of quality, and detail of their previous work. I knew Dwayne was the perfect candidate, and his creativity was exactly what we needed for the Club.‘
The 80-acre site of The Concours Club includes a two-mile racetrack designed by Alan L. Wilson
All photography by Anthony Tahlier
A MODERN DAY, FORMULA ONE-GRADE DRIVING CIRCUIT
Located within the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, The Concours Club is a modern day, Formula One-grade driving circuit. The track, designed by Alan L. Wilson, challenges sports drivers of all levels to two-miles of tarmac featuring 11 turns, three extreme hairpins, and multiple elevation changes. Its state-of-the-art racetrack is paired with a members-only experience, blending high-tech driving with luxury amenities and impeccable service. It brings a new meaning to an auto resort.
‘The location of the Club was of the utmost importance and I wanted to make sure that we didn’t force people to travel to a remote racetrack. The Concours Club is located within the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, which is just 14 miles from Miami Beach and minutes from Fort Lauderdale,‘ adds Neil.
The unique, members-only experience starts at the guardhouse
‘We visited motorsports facilities across North America before starting this project. We learned what individual components and facilities were needed as well as how members used the clubs. We realized most were lacking a sense of place. The clubs were a collection of buildings with paddock areas – that was it. We focused on the emotional impact of The Concours Club,‘ notes Dwayne. ‘The master plan considered all the spaces very much like connective tissue. We aim to choreograph the member’s experience from the moment they drive into the Club: the opening of the gates, the acoustic sense from the texture of the cobblestone entry, and how the cars are lit up to look as good as possible. Understanding the way the members moved throughout the spaces became important of rinspiration as we further developed the project.‘
The guardhouse sets the first impression of the club as members drive through a ceremonial tree-lined approach. It is lit to increase the sense of exhilaration as the Club nears. Including the two-mile circuit, the 80-acre resort is a luxury campus for the hyper racecar culture. Automotive collectors and enthusiasts can relax, connect, and share their passion for performance driving in the member’s lounge, a restaurant conceived by Michelin-starred experts, and even private garages for the most exclusive of guests. A lifestyle concierge is there to assist with any request, including a fleet of performance vehicles.
The 11 Turns sculpture gives form to the sound of the Club’s racetrack
DMAC ARCHITECTURE & interiors’ DESIGN DETAILS FOR THE CLUB
Dwayne’s design of the Club considers every aspect of the member’s experience, even the artwork. In the members-only restaurant Verge, a 22-feet-long and 300-pound sculpture hangs from the ceiling. Called 11 Turns, the piece was fashioned from a special machine that bends steel tubes. Its form is a physical manifestation of the sound of Helio Castroneves, four-time Indy Car champion and one of the founding members of the Club, racing around the circuit. Designed by Dwayne, the sculpture elevates the personality of the space.
‘The sculptural piece, 11 Turns, asks what does the sound of the racetrack look like? It is a question I wondered after Being on-site so many times over the years. I realize visitors heard more than just this overall roar of the cars on track. I began to recognize the different sounds of the vehicles depending on where they are on the circuit. I recorded Helio Castroneves driving on the track. I then listened, eyes closed, and sketched with charcoal and bent wire to create a miniature sculpture. It was then transformed into a 22-feet-long piece that is super meaningful for the racetrack,‘ describes the architecture firm’s Principle.
Automotive collectors and enthusiasts can relax, connect, and share their passion for driving in the member’s lounge
No detail of the design of The Concours Club was left to chance by Dwayne and his team at DMAC Architecture & Interiors. From artwork to lighting and even the landscaping, the practice designed the concours one building, fuel station, private garages, and the paddock lounge. The latter is the ultimate driver-centered outdoor lounge as it merges high-performance facilities with luxury. The shade canopy by the paddock, placed adjacent to the pit lane, is enriched with solar panels. Energy drawn from the Floridian sun highlights the green considerations of the project. The 260-long canopy charges the ever-increasing fleet of hyper electric vehicles now seen at the auto resort.
‘We were developing the paddock and realized that if we are creating a shade structure, why don’t we capture the energy of the sun. It was a very economical solution as well,Dwayne’s remarks. ‘Since the club started, the evolution of the electric vehicle from the performance side has taken off. It made the solar-paneled shade structure a natural feature.‘
The paddock lounge connects the clubhouse to the pit lane
A MICROCOSM OF MOTORSPORTS IN MIAMI
‘I think as an architect, there is the need to be ambitious and to push back against the client in a collaborative manner rather than an adversarial way. Our role as architects is to add value to the process.‘Dwayne MacEwen concludes,’I think we did our job by making the unique experience of The Concours Club even stronger.‘
Established by hyper car fanatics, boosted by an exclusive membership even including ex-professional champions, and set on a two-mile playground planned by a world famous racetrack designer: The Concours Club was undoubtedly destined to become the most modern driving circuit in North America upon opening. Dwayne MacEwen and DMAC Architecture & Interiors, appointed by Neil Gehani, helped elevate the Club to set a new level for private racing resorts. Every aspect of its design was fine-tuned and tailored to the needs of the automotive collectors and enthusiasts, from facilities through to services. A unique experience is choreographed for clientele. It manifests a microcosm of motorsports in Miami, truly forging a sense of place in the hyper racecar culture.