These days every major city has an art museum that qualifies as an architectural wonder, often a bigger draw than the art it houses. Seeking architectural distinction, Miami has chosen a different route, accumulating the world's most famous collection of parking garages. This is 1011 Lincoln Road, designed Herzog & de Meuron (creators of the Beijing "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium) as a place for owners of classic cars or Ferraris to show off their hardware. People like the space so much, though, that it has become a common location for concerts, catered parties, and even weddings.
Ballet Valet, by Architectonica.
Frank Gehry's Pennsylvania Avenue Parking Garage.
And the latest, by Zaha Hadid, who says "every building can be a work of art."
I like these because I am frankly baffled by the level of ugliness we tolerate in our surroundings. Compare a utilitarian building of the post World War II-period -- waterworks, power plant, shopping mall -- with one from the 1880s, or the Roman empire, and you can see that much poorer civilizations than ours often went to great lengths to make such constructions attractive. We, by contrast, accept bare concrete rectangles with no windows and dimly lit interiors as if they were a requirement of nature. We can afford to make our world much nicer than it is, and I am glad that Miami is showing the way.