South Beach Architecture: Art Deco

Amara Andrew - South Beach Architecture - Art Deco

In my previous post and video, I outlined the 3 major architectural styles of Miami Beach. This post is a mini deep dive into Art Deco.

So, South Beach is known for its amazing collection of Art Deco architecture. Most of these buildings were slated to be torn down throughout the 1970s & 1980s, but were saved by Barbara Capitman as well as the Miami Design Preservation League. (We’ll talk more about them in another post, so stay tuned!)

So, first, what is Art Deco?

It’s a general design style that started in 1925 in France with the Universelle Exposition. It encompasses basically all forms of “visual art.”

Generally, Art Deco architecture in South Beach is called “Tropical Art Deco,” but there are a few sub-genres within that including:

  • Streamline Moderne,
  • Med-deco, 
  • And Depression Moderne,

So, how can you identify an Art Deco building? Here are some unique features to look out for:

  • symmetrical design,
  • ziggurat (stepped) roofline,
  • glass blocks,
  • curved edges and corners,
  • flora and fauna,
  • groups of 3,
  • and round porthole windows.

Miami Beach Art Deco is a very specific type of architecture. The buildings feature shade overhangs (a.k.a. eyebrows) to block out the intense Miami sun!

What’s your favorite Art Deco structure? Let me know in the comments below! Tata!

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