Miami Modernist Architecture is a regional style of architecture that developed in South Florida during the post-war period as a response to the International Style of architecture. It also came into being due to the demands of clients, who wanted themes of glamour, fun, and material excess to replace the otherwise stark, minimalist, and efficient styles of the previous generation. The style can be most observed today in Middle and Upper Miami Beach along Collins Avenue, as well as along the Biscayne Boulevard corridor starting from around Midtown, through the Design District and into the Upper Eastside. Here, The Culture Trip focuses on five excellent and world famous buildings as we guide you though a brief introduction to this revolutionary and uniquely Florid-esque style of architecture.
First on our list is the Fontainbleau Hotel, a Miami Beach building that always has a buzzing nightlife. It was designed in the 1950s by an architect named Morris Lapidus, a name synonymous with Mimo (Miami Modernist) architecture. Morris will forever be remembered for his neo-baroque hotel buildings that made Miami Beach come alive in the 1950s and 60s.
Another building designed in the 1950s by Morris Lapidus is the Eden Roc in Miami Beach. Eden Roc Miami Beach has been a favorite of distinguished guests from politicians to Hollywood‘s top stars. Renovated in 2008, the hotel offers 631 guest rooms, including 96 suites. Lapidus designed the Eden Roc for a site immediately to the north of his Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel built in 1954. The hotel was designed for Harry Mufson, who had partnered with Ben Novack to build the Fontainebleau.
The Bacardi Building, the former headquarters of Bacardi USA, is a landmark of Midtown Miami. The building was designed by Cuban architect Enrique Gutierrez in 1963 and on April 18, 2012, the AIA’s Florida Chapter placed it on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places. University of Miami professor of architecture Allan Shulman was once quoted as saying “Miami’s brand is its identity as a tropical city. The Bacardi buildings are exactly the sort that resonate with our consciousness of what Miami is about”.
This contemporary beachfront hotel was designed by architect Melvin Grossman in 1957, and is famously known as the building where The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan show on February 16th 1964. This event catapulted The Deauville into stardom, as it quickly became Hollywood’s favorite destination. The ‘Rolling Parties’ in the Napoleon Ballroom hosted artists such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett.
Di Lido Ritz-Carlton
With its iconic address among the pastel palette skyline of Miami Beach Art Deco hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach puts you in the heart of the chic urban landscape of one of the city’s most fabled neighborhoods. The landmark hotel, designed by, three guesses who…Morris Lapidus, of course. Keeping true to his postmodernism style, the Di Lido building (as it was originally known) embraces its glamorous past with a transformed contemporary spirit.
By Laurence Kidd