One hundred five years: Not long in the life of most cities, except if you're Miami. Our town has changed radically over its brief lifespan. A glance at area buildings that reflect our history reveals just that. Dade County pine houses and bungalows offering porches and expanses of windows exemplify the pioneering pre-air-conditioned lifestyle. Coral Gables' sprawling Mediterranean Revival Biltmore Hotel marks the land boom of the 1920s. Wide-eyed optimism of the Fifties boldly emanates from the undulating Fontainebleau Hotel.
But we are more than just our structures. While the evolution of neighborhoods such as Miami Springs, Normandy Isle, and Opa-locka, and the suburban sprawl that inevitably leads to dreaded housing developments, are important in who we've become, the greenery that shields us and decorates our property says something about us too.
Figure out exactly what during the seven-week course Miami Architecture, a wild ride through this city's history via our buildings and environment presented by preservation advocates the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation and the Urban Arts Committee, promoters of all things well-designed. Opening the series will be University of Miami professor Teofilo Victoria touching on highlights of Western architecture. Others imparting wisdom: Black Archives History and Research Foundation head Dorothy Jenkins Fields on African-American neighborhoods; Dennis Wilhelm and Michael Kinerk admiring Art Deco; University of Miami associate professor Allan Shulman on downtown skyscrapers; and MBCDC's Randall Robinson waxing lyrical on Miami Beach's Modern structures.
Attendees who want to tote a bit of history home with them can. Accompanying the lectures will be a draft of Robinson and Shulman's soon-to-be-published Miami Architecture: A Guide to the Metropolitan Area, showcasing 200 of this burg's most notable works.