Art Deco Style
are three predominate architectural styles found in the Miami Beach National Historic District:
Mediterranean Revival: Buildings
that 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 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
developers. The Spanish Village along Española Way is an excellent area
to study the style.
What to look for: Bell towers,
archways, awnings, porches, balconies, carved stonework, rough stucco
walls, clay tiles roofs, wrought iron fixtures.
Art Deco: The term Art Deco
came into common usage in the 1980s as public interest in the style was
renewed and is generally used to cover several distinct periods. Art Deco
became popularized at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs
et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, featuring angular yet voluptuous
materials with elaborate motifs of fountains, nudes and flora. Miami Beach’s
building boom came during the second phase of Art Deco known as Streamline
Moderne, which began with the stock market crash in 1929 and ended in
most cases with the entry of the USA into WWII in 1941. Miami Beach architects
used local imagery to create what we now call Tropical Deco. These buildings
feature relief ornamentation featuring whimsical flora, fauna and ocean-liner
motifs to reinforce the image of Miami Beach as a seaside resort.
What to look for: Over-all
symmetry, ziggurat (stepped) rooflines, glass block, decorative sculptural
panels, eyebrows, round porthole windows, terrazzo floors, curved edges
and corners, elements in groups of three, neon lighting (used in both
exteriors as well as interior spaces).
MIMO: The Post World War
II or MiMo Style of design became popular the 1950s when architects were
heavily influenced by the International Style. Architects in Miami Beach
carried on the whimsical tropical tradition using new materials and forms.
Eyebrows gave way to metal louvers and sun shades, tiled mosaic walls
became a popular feature as did open balconies and catwalks. A Miami Beach
variant, the Garden Style, features apartments that are accessed through
open-air walkways built around a central garden.
What to look for: Asymmetry
and rakish angles; cheese hole cutouts; kidney and amoeba shapes; futuristic
jet and space age forms; mosaic murals; anodized aluminum in gold and
Art Deco Historical District in yellow
Design Preservation League
August of 1976 The Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) was formed
through the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman and her son John Capitman.
The Capitmans worked with designers Leonard Horowitz and
Lillian Barber to identify a concentration of 1930s buildings in South
Miami Beach that the group felt could be a historic district of 20th century
In May 1979 The Miami Beach Architectural Historic District was listed on the National Register
of Historic Places. It was the nation’s first 20th century Historic District.
Design Preservation League (MDPL) is a non-profit organization devoted
to preserving, protecting, and promoting the cultural, social, economic,
environmental and architectural integrity of the Miami Beach Architectural
Historic District. It is the oldest Art Deco Society in the World.
MDPL provides cultural and educational programs as well as offering walking
tours that have special appeal to those interested in art, design, architecture,
history, preservation, urban and community planning and development.
Tours of the Historical District
Drive and Beyond:
ninety-minute walking tour provides an introduction to the Art Deco, Mediterranean
Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles found within the Miami Beach Architectural
Historic District. Explore hotels, restaurants, and other commercial structures
with a visit to a number of interiors. Tours depart from the Gift Shop on the following schedule:
Mondays at 10:30 am
Tuesdays at 10:30 am
Wednesdays at 10:30 am
Thursdays at 10:30 and and 6:30 pm
Fridays at 10:30 am
Saturdays at 10:30 am
Sundays at 10:30 am
Prices: Adults US$ 25.00
- Senior Citizens and Students (with ID) US$ 20.00
Self-Guided Audio Tours:
Walk through Miami Beach's National Historical District at your own pace, and learn about its architectural history using an iPod-based self-guided tour and accompanying map. The complete tour takes approximately 1 1/2 hours, but you can set your own pace. Commentary is provided in English, Spanish, German, and French. Self-guided tours are available at the Welcome Center seven days a week, from 09:30 to 17:00.
Prices: Adults US$ 20.00
Senior Citizens and Students (with ID) US$ 15.00
Advance Reservations are not taken - just arrive at the Art Deco Gift
Shop (located on 12th Street, just west of Ocean Drive) within 15-20 minutes
of the scheduled departure time in order to purchase your ticket.
Street "Pay and Display" parking is available on most streets,
but it is recommended to park in one of the City of Miami Beach parking
7th Street Garage: Between Washington & Collins on 7th Street.
* 12th Street Garage: Just West of Washington Avenue on 12th Street.
* 13th Street Garage: Just East of Collins Avenue on 13th Street.
Beach Local (123) The Shuttle circles South Beach every 10 to 15 minutes.
(103) From 41st. Street, Miami Beach and to 5th. Street via Collins
Avenue. Originates in Downtown Miami. Every 20 mins.
(119) From Sunny Isles Beach and Downtown Miami. Every 20 minutes.
MDPL & The Art Deco Gift Shop
Located on 12th Street, just west of Ocean Drive
Miami Beach FL 33139
(Administrative Office) Fax: 305-200-0195 -
Telephone: 305-531-3484 (Gift Shop) - EMail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to Art Deco Miami Design Preservation League
Old Miami City Hall
Ocean Drive Art Deco Hotels