Saturday, July 30, 2011

architecture | Miami Architecture Rises Again

Downtown Miami is enjoying a resurgence at long last. An over abundance of condos jammed in all at once pre-recession, threatened to drown Miami in yet another boom /bust rotation that this humidity-soaked environment is apparently famous for.

The plethora of sparkly new condos were rented out at reasonable rate awaiting the upswing which is now occurring. This sudden influx of new, young blood is kick-starting the previously unloved central location into a “whoosh” of new restaurants, shops and entertainment.

Surprisingly to many, original and interesting architecture is still front and center in this fairly young city. Miami was officially Incorporated in 1896 with a whopping population of 300. I took a stroll around recently, armed with camera, to record a soupčon of old Miami architectural design.
Alfred I. DuPont brass elevators

Alfred I. DuPont Building, completed in 1939, formerly a bank; it now holds court to special events after a series of historic renovations on it’s Depression Moderne style of architecture. Designed by the firm of Marsh and Saxelbye, the DuPont sports hand-painted cypress wood ceilings, detailed scroll work, and brass elevator doors bas relief adorned depicting native flora and fauna.

Olympia / Gusman ticket booth and marquee

Olympia Theater / Gusman Center for the Performing Arts lobby ceiling

Olympia Theater - This silent movie palace opened in 1926. The Moorish architecture, marvelous acoustics and ceiling simulating the night sky also achieved fame by becoming the first building in the South to be air-conditioned. Now known as Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, it transports the audience into experiencing old world charm in downtown Miami. It is one of the few “atmospheric” theaters designed by architect John Eberson still existing today.

Ingraham Building brass elevator logos

Another recently renovated 1926 structure, the Ingraham Building was designed by the architectural firm of Schultze & Weaver, designers of the famous Waldorf-Astoria in New York and the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles in the Chicago Style of Architecture.

Ingraham Building ceiling