Miami Beach boasts the world’s greatest concentration of art deco buildings, which reflect a distinct era in American history—along with the can-do attitude that has defined the nation. From the Great Depression years through the 1940s, architects in the Miami area designed dominantly within the umbrella of styles now known as art deco, and some nine hundred structures in this genre remain. They rose amid economic hard times and evoked technological modernity, resilience, and optimism.

Among the art deco styles characteristic of Miami Beach is Streamline Moderne, distinguished by machine-inspired aerodynamic curves and sleek horizontal forms, lines, and accents. This industrial-looking style emphasizes asymmetrical, U-shaped facades with sweeping, wraparound elements. Many of Miami’s examples reflect the locale with such features as concrete “eyebrows” over windows to shade guests from Florida’s unforgiving sun, round porthole windows, ship-like railings, and other nautical and tropical touches. . . .


1. Richard and Valerie Beaubein, Discovering South Beach Deco: Walking Tours in the Miami Beach Art Deco District (Bolton, MA: Domani Press, 2004), 24.

2. Beaubein, Discovering South Beach Deco, 22–23.

3. Beaubein, Discovering South Beach Deco, 23.

4. “The Cardozo Story,” Cardozo South Beach, (accessed February 10, 2020).

5. “A Brief History of MDPL,” Miami Design Preservation League, (accessed February 10, 2020).

6. “Andrew Captiman,” Duff & Phelps, (accessed February 10, 2020); Elinor J. Brecher, Douglas Hanks, and David Smiley, “South Beach, Wynwood Developer Tony Goldman Dies at 68,” Miami Herald, September 12, 2012,

7. Brooke Blackhurst, “Tropical Deco: The History of Miami’s Pastel Hues,” HedgeApple, August 2, 2018,; Laura Stewart Dishman, “Designer Helps Miami Beach Add Some Color into Its Chic,” Orlando Sentinel, January 15, 1987,

8. Andres Viglucci, “The Vice Effect: 30 Years after the Show That Changed Miami,” Miami Herald, September 28, 2014,

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