Miami architecture is as varied as the city’s history, people, and cultures. Each neighborhood has a distinct look and (literal) flavor. However, the historic Art Deco District is representative of a very unique period in American History. As such, the buildings reflect signature Art Deco architectural style with an American pre-War twist.


Art Deco architecture in South Beach Miami. Source: Wikimedia

The Art Deco genre emerged in Paris during the 1920’s, but due to events like the Great Depression and ensuing WWII, the American Art Deco aesthetic developed into a more moderate take on the style. Miami’s Art Deco architecture is a result of the trend’s second wave in the 1930’s. This iteration of Art Deco design is referred to as Streamline Moderne.


Essex House in Miami Beach. Source: sky

The Essex House and the Miami US Post Office on Washington are exemplary of Miami architecture and its Art Deco legacy. These buildings illustrate a number of design elements unique to Art Deco design, including:

  • Symmetry
  • Decorative sculptural panels
  • Curved corners and edges
  • Porthole-style windows
  • Neon-lighting (interior or exterior)

Marlin Hotel in Miami Beach. Source: Wikimedia

Fortunately, the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board has ensured the buildings in Miami Beach’s historic districts are properly preserved, rehabilitated and maintained. Over time, many of the Art Deco district’s buildings have also adopted elements of Miami’s Tropical Deco flair, such as colorful relief ornamentation and floral motifs.

The lucky winner of our United Way fundraising contest will have the chance to experience Miami’s Art Deco District ( OR Historic Beacon Hill in Boston) first hand on their personal architectural tour with Leslie Saul! We can’t wait to give this exciting gift away and share our love of architecture with one of our lucky readers.