Miami Beach Art Deco


In the 1920s, 30s and 40s Art Deco architecture came to define the fledgling city of Miami Beach. Following WWII the world moved on to other design movements and South Beach faded along with its architecture.

When most people think of Miami Beach, they think of sandy beaches, beautiful weather, and endless nightlife. But Miami Beach is also home to a large number of Art Deco buildings, which are a major part of the city's identity. If you're interested in the Miami Beach history, here's how you can identify Art Deco architecture.

What is Art Deco?

It's a design style that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It is characterized by its use of geometric shapes, bright colors, and stylized patterns. Buildings often have a streamlined appearance, with symmetry and simple lines being key features. Miami Beach has the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world, with over 800 buildings. The majority of these buildings were constructed in the 1930s, during a time when Miami Beach was experiencing a boom in construction due to an influx of tourists and new residents.

How Do You Identify Art Deco Architecture?

There are a few key things you should look for when identifying potential buildings. First, pay attention to the building's overall shape. Art Deco buildings often have a rectangular or square shape, with curved corners being one of the most distinguishing features. Another key element to look for is symmetry; many buildings are symmetrical both inside and out. Finally, take note of any patterns or motifs on the exterior of the building. These are often geometric in nature and can help confirm that a building is indeed Art Deco.

What's the Role of MDPL in Preserving These Buildings?

If you're looking for Miami Beach Art Deco with historical significance, you'll want to check out the properties listed on the Miami Design Preservation League's (MDPL) Register. The MDPL is dedicated to preserving the city's original character and promoting its unique architectural style. As such, they keep a register of all historically significant buildings in Miami Beach, which includes over 800 buildings.

The Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL), led by Barbara Capitman and Leonard Horowitz revived the buildings and by doing so revived the city. Now we cannot image South Beach without its Art Deco.

The talk will begin with a review the elements of Art Deco architecture in Miami Beach and an overview of its history. The audience will be led through the rise of this design style and its fall and subsequent rebirth in Miami Beach. The speakers will also give a summary of MDPL’s role in that revival and its current activities. There will be time at the end for questions.

Judith Frankel, the Director of Programs and Outreach for the Miami Design Preservation League, will explain:

  • How to identify Miami Beach Art Deco architecture
  • The history of the design style in Miami Beach
  • The role of MDPL

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Judith Frankel

Ms. Frankel is the Director of Programs and Outreach for the Miami Design Preservation League. As a part of this role she oversees the educational programming for the League and works with its Public Policy committee on advocacy issues. She holds a Master Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors Degree in Geography from Clark University.

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