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Miami Beach Art Deco Buildings: A Guide to the Architectural Masterpieces

by | Jun 17, 2022

Art deco is an architectural style popular in the 1920s and 1930s. This type of architecture is characterized by its use of geometric shapes, symmetry, and bright colors like neon lighting.

Washington Avenue, Collins Avenue, and Ocean Drive are some of the most famous streets in Miami Beach for art deco architecture.

The Miami Art Deco Historic District is the world’s most extensive collection of Art Deco architecture. It comprises hundreds of hotels, apartments, and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Art Deco, Miami Modern, Mediterranean Revival, and Streamline Moderne are represented in the Miami Art Deco District.

The Miami Design Preservation League tours are a great way to learn more about the art deco buildings in Miami Beach. Tourists and architectural buffs alike will enjoy learning about the history and design of these beautiful and historic buildings. The Art Deco Welcome Center is where tourists first stop on tour.

The center is located in the Historic Art Deco District and is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. It can be pretty busy, so it is recommended to arrive early. There is also an Art Deco Museum which is worth a visit.

The best time to see these buildings in the Miami Beach architectural district is during the day when the sun is shining, and the colors are more vibrant. Park Central Hotel and the Essex House are great examples of art deco buildings still standing today.

Most Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach have undergone some renovation — some more recently than others, and some to a higher degree of quality. Realtor Josh Stein has vast experience with Miami Beach’s Art Deco scene and counts these structures among his favorite architecturally. (He even lives in one.)

Three predominant architectural styles are found in the Art Deco District: Art Deco, Miami Modern, and Mediterranean Revival.

Tropical Art Deco

Miami Beach Art Deco Buildings: A Guide To The Architectural Masterpieces

Art Deco is known for the elegant buildings that sprang up in every big city in the 1920s. Miami Beach’s boom came during the 2nd phase of the Art Deco era, Streamline Moderne, which began with the stock market crash and ended in most cases with the outbreak of World War II. It was less decorative and relied more on machine-inspired forms and American ideas in industrial design.

Miami Beach architects used local imagery to create “Tropical Deco.” These art deco homes feature relief ornamentation with flora, fauna, and ocean-liner motifs to reinforce the image of Miami Beach as a seaside resort. Look for symmetry, ziggurat rooflines, decorative panels, eyebrows, porthole windows, terrazzo, curves, elements in groups of 3, & neon.

Miami Modern (MiMo)

Miami Beach Art Deco Buildings: A Guide To The Architectural Masterpieces

The MiMo (Miami Modern) Style of design became popular in the 1950s and was heavily influenced by the International Style taught in most architecture schools. These Miami Beach architects carried on the whimsical tropical tradition using new materials and forms. Eyebrows gave way to metal louvers and sunshades; tiled mosaic walls became a popular feature, as did open balconies and catwalks. A Miami Beach, FL variant, the Garden Style, features apartments accessed through open-air walkways built around a central garden.

Look for asymmetry and rakish angles, cheese hole cutouts, kidney and amoeba shapes, futuristic jet and space-age forms, mosaic murals, and anodized aluminum in gold and copper.

Most predominant is the nautical influence seen in the Lincoln Cinema, Publix on the Bay, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Miami City Ballet buildings.

 

Mediterranean Revival

Mediterranean Revival buildings evoke an Old World image, featuring decorative columns, arched windows, clay barrel tile roofs, rough stucco walls, wrought iron, and spindle gates guarding picturesque courtyards. These Miami Beach buildings are a whimsical interpretation of the old world, combining elements from differing Mediterranean styles resulting in a “fantasy” architecture adopted by early 1920s Miami Beach FL developers and elsewhere in Florida and California.

The Spanish Village between Washington Ave and Pennsylvania Ave, known as Española Way in South Beach, is a great place to explore and look at Mediterranean architecture. Look for bell towers, archways, awnings, porches, balconies, carved stonework, rough stucco walls, clay tiles roofs, and wrought iron fixtures.

Why The Miami Beach Art Deco is Important

The art deco area of South Beach is not only a beautiful place to visit but also an essential part of Miami Beach’s history. These buildings are some of the first examples of what would become known as “Miami Vice” architecture and helped put this small beach town on the map.

When you walk down Ocean Drive, you are transported back in time to a different era. One where people dressed up to go out, danced the night away, and drank cocktails by the pool. It is where you can forget your troubles and enjoy the moment.

With the Atlantic Ocean and the architecture as a backdrop, it is no wonder that Miami Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

So next time you are in South Beach, take a stroll down Ocean Drive and enjoy the art deco buildings. And if you are lucky enough to stay in one of these beautiful hotels, such as the Waldorf Towers Hotel and Colony Hotel, be sure to take some time to appreciate the history and architecture surrounding you.

Interested To Buy or Rent an Art Deco Apartment in Miami Beach?

Miami Beach Art Deco Buildings: A Guide To The Architectural Masterpieces

If you are interested in buying or renting an art deco apartment in Miami Beach, then be sure to check out our listing of available properties. We have a wide selection of apartments sure to fit your needs and budget.

And if you have any questions about the art deco buildings in Miami Beach, then be sure to contact us, and we will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Josh Has Been an Expert in Art Deco Miami Properties For More Than 20 Years! Josh is always available to offer his expert advice, from Art Deco homes for sale to the latest art deco property listings. 

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Have questions? Need advice?

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Give us a call +1 (305) 695-8257 or email hello@joshsteinrealtor.com

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Josh Stein

Global Luxury Realty

+1 (305) 695-8257

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