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Architecture of South Beach and Beyond

Miami Beach has the largest Art Deco collection in the world, but Miami has so much more for architecture lovers.  Spanish Revival, Cracker houses, Bahamian homes, MIMO Miami Modern.

Especially good at the hidden gems of Coral Gables and Coconut Grove, as well as the nooks and crannies in Northeast Miami: Morningside and Miami Shores. I can find the Pink House without GPS.  

I am a long time South Beach resident offering van tours, bike tours and walking tours of the Art Deco district. 

Miami also has excellent collections of art.  Art sites include:

De la Cruz Collection

Marguilles Collection

Rubell Family Collection

Perez Museum

South Beach has 5 distinct zones.  Art Deco dominates the architecture bc the 1926 hurricane blew everything down.  The rebuilding created the largest art deco collection in the world.  

I can’t do a better job than MDPL the preservation league does every morning at 10:30 on 10th and Ocean Drive, but they only cover 2-3 blocks.  Let me show you all 5 zones of South Beach

I love to use historic photos to show the evolution of the architecture. Pictured is the Victor hotel before and after renovation.  

Frank Gehry created the new World Syphony park for his childhood friend Michael Tilson Thomas.  

The big white wall is a huge screen to watch the symphony from outside, with giant speakers in the grass.  Wallcasts are listed on the symphony’s website.  

Spanish Revival architecture is still prevalent in South Beach.  The Versace Mansion and Espanola are great examples.  Espanola Way is undergoing a massive overhaul.  Stay tuned! 

Spanish Revival is all over Miami, especially Coral Gables, “The City Beautiful”.

The world famous 1111 Lincoln parking lot is a Swiss contribution to South Beach from Werner and Herzog.  

The builder kept the penthouse to live in, and kept the neighboring Bauhaus style building bc it has many happy paying tenants and is “architecturally significant”.  
The Swiss also brought us Art Basel that helped push Miami into being an arts mecca.  Let’s hear it for the Swiss!  

Werner and Herzog also created spectacular architecture for the Perez Art Museum w a beautiful view of Biscayne Bay, the cruise ships and a great restaurant.

Behind the Perez Art Museum lies the Scorpion building by Zaha Hadid.   David Beckham owns the penthouse.  

Sears Roebuck Department Store was the first Art Deco building in Dade County in 1931.  Miami Beach followed their trend.  

Preservationists insisted on keeping the Sears entrance tower, surrounded by the Performing Arts Center created by Cesar Pelli, an Argentinian architect from Tucumán.

Collins Park is the last part of South Beach that has not had much renovation.   That is changing in this special corner of South Beach. 

Coral Gables was built mostly in Spanish Revival style, with 8 international villages scattered throughout the Gables.  The Chinese village is my favorite, along with German, French urban, French country, German, italian, Dutch West Indies, and Dutch villages.  

Three South Beach treasures that have seen better days.  On the left, the Albion, had its heyday before Lincoln Road went pedestrian. putting the Albion across from a bus stop.  

The Waldorf left, and Leslie and Carlyle, featured in Birdcage, all fell victim to the crime on Ocean Drive

  • Freedom Tower
  • Biltmore Hotel and much of Coral Gables in Spanish Revival architecture.
  • El Jardin
  • Coral Gables has 8 international villages. Pictured is the Chinese Village.  
  • Vizcaya
  • Twisted Sisters in Coconut Grove
  • Architectonica’s Pink House.  Miami Shores has tons of  Spanish Revival and MIMO.  The Pink House caused a furor in the village council, only  only approved bc the female half of Architectonica is a traditional Shores family.  
  • Buena Vista on up to the gentrifying Upper Eastside. Nobody knows this neighborhood better!
  • The Senator hotel getting  demolished in the late 70’s sparked the preservation of the Art Deco District, the largest collection of Art Deco in the world,  w 5 distinct zones. 

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