When Coral Gables’ city founder and developer George Merrick built his ‘master suburb’ he also commissioned notable architects to design seven themed villages within it, to encourage architectural variety within the city which was until then predominantly (and would continue to be) Mediterranean Revival in character. The styles of the villages spanned the globe, from multiple varieties of French to Chinese.
The City of Miami is looking to reactivate Fort Dallas Park, a hidden patch of green on the Miami River in the heart of Downtown that has been neglected and closed to the public for years.
Visualizing urban development patterns by age can reveal a lot about the evolution of a city, historically and up to the present day. To state the obvious, historic preservation is a very hot topic in Miami right now. Miami’s most historic neighborhoods are not coincidentally many of its most popular, presenting a need for preservation, a public desire to preserve what makes those neighborhoods special to begin with, and inherent challenges to that preservation. Cities are also built in very different ways than they were in the past. Greater Miami is, of course, no exception to this rule, although development happens a little differently everywhere. By using data from the Miami-Dade Property appraiser, Gridics has mapped urban development across the entire county by decade constructed in shades of blue, allowing patterns of growth to be seen in the data.
Before the City of Coral Gables was anything else, it was a gabled house faced in the local stone known as coral rock but more precisely called oolitic limestone, on a farm. That house, owned by city founder George Merrick, inspired the construction of a number of others in the same distinctive rock in those early days. This house, built in 1925 at 3903 Granada Boulevard, and now on the market for $1.696 million is one of those.
Centered on miles of condo towers stretching up and down Biscayne Bay, the Downtown Miami skyline visible today is an incredibly recent creation. For almost forty years the tallest tower in Florida was the Dade County Courthouse, a 28 story granite monument of a building on Flagler Street and NW 1st Avenue.
The Babylon Towers, an iconic pair of postmodernist ziggurats on Brickell Bay Drive designed by Arquitectonica in the late ’70s/ early ’80s could be demolished and replaced by a condo tower with up to 184 units, if its owners, Babylon International, get their way.
All Aboard Florida, eat your heart out. Although the passenger rail system’s proposal to construct a 991 foot tower (1,000 above sea level) at its currently-under-construction MiamiCentral Terminal in Downtown MIami has reportedly been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, that’s certainly not the first giant train station/tower to be planned for the site.
Cocaine is to Miami what Opium is to Chinatown, what Marijuana is to Amsterdam, and what hallucinogenic frogs are to the jungle. It has a certain iconic cultural connection, a connection manifested in long parties at the club as well as the memories of places where the drug has affected the city. Think of the building boom of the 1980s that was partly funded with cocaine cash or the parking lot outside Dadeland Mall that was the site of the Dadeland Mall Massacre of 1979. Think of drug lord Pablo Escobar’s Miami Beach mansion.
There is an allure to owning a quaint little apartment building, making friends with all your tenants, keeping up with building gossip, getting involved in each others lives, lowning sweet old Mrs. Dixie over in 2A a cup of sugar, that sort of thing. Places like that are probably more common in sitcoms (On I Love Lucy, the Mertzes were the landlords and best friends of the Ricardos, and hilarity ensued) and romantic comedies staring Meg Ryan, but hey, that’s not saying the real life version isn’t impossible.
Art Deco Weekend, the annual festival celebrating that eponymous architectural style, Miami Beach’s (and Miami’s) great collection of deco architecture, and a lot of kitschy Miami history, is here again.
The deco love fest runs through the weekend, complete as always, with an official poster, a street fair on Ocean Drive, lectures, events, and lots of loud, retro clothing making rare appearances from the backs of closets across Miami. The festival’s deco-inspired posters, which are always original artistic creations, show just how much Miami’s perception of its own unique variety of 1930s and ’40s art deco has changed over the years, and even year to year… in effect showing how versatile and ingenious those old designs — think of the Coast Guard Station in Lummus Park or a streamline modernist house designed for indoor-outdoor subtropical living — are themselves.