Spending Christmas in Miami
Although you might think of beaches and Art Deco buildings when you think on Miami, there is a rich history of classic architecture to be found in the Downtown area. Above, the lobby of the Ingraham Building could just as easily be found in New York, Chicago, or Boston. Built in 1925 as the headquarters for the Florida Power and Light Company, the detail in the stonework and fixtures is surprisingly ornate.
This 1920’s building on Flagler Street was recently restored to its original appearance. Metal sheets had covered the brick walls for decades, and even the ornate columns around the base had been compromised. Many other pre-depression gems are being restored, a movement led in the early 1970’s with the restoration and preservation of the Olympia Theater on Flagler Street as the Gusman Center.
Just north of Flagler Street you’ll find the original U.S. Post Office building from the late teens. The detailed wooden roof work combined with the expert stone carving of the exterior walls takes one back to the America at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The clock housing is original, as are the iron balcony railings.
The eastern face of the building shows the main entrance. For many years the building was home to The First Federal Savings and Loan Association, but for the past twelve years, it has been unoccupied. Recently it was purchased by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and is being restored to its original glory. The first floor will double as a Downtown visitors center, and a museum of Miami architectural history, below. Currently, its first exhibit is almost ready to greet the public.
The vaulted arches are being restored, along with the original terrazzo floors. Below is a preliminary drawing of the iconic Bacardi Building of the 1960’s, along with the original art that would be interpreted in tile on the large wall of that building.
Arquitectonica emerged in the 1970’s as the definitive Miami design firm, and this early sketch by Laurinda Spear of The Atlantis condominium showed the birth of what would become one of Miami’s signature buildings.