Save Our MiMo

Rallying for Architecture

Drowsy passengers on the cross-town bus Thursday night looked puzzled by the middle aged woman chanting outside the window. It was Bay Harbor Islands after all, a wealthy, quiet little burg — not exactly a hotbed of controversy.

"Save it baby, save it," the woman shouted, holding a sign that said "Not against development. Only against over development." The woman, who would give only her first name, Aurora, was standing on a street corner with about 40 other sign-wielding architecture fans. They were calling on the town to protect the islands' high concentration of Fifties and Sixties-era Miami Modern (MiMo) buildings.

A recent professional study deemed almost 40 buildings in Bay Harbor Islands significant enough to be placed on a local register of historic architecture. Five were considered eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The town council has so far resisted calls to create a historic district. Ergo Thursday evening's rally, organized by Teri D'Amico, an activist with the Miami Modern Coalition (MiMoCo). D'Amico's group was instrumental in the recent Historic District designation of the Biscayne Boulevard corridor.

For anyone who got an earful at the recent police department salary demonstrations, the Bay Harbor Islands architecture rally made for a sedate contrast. A few cars honked in support and the sniping was strictly intellectual. "People who run the city are not cultivated," Aurora said. "They're not educated in architecture," agreed fellow protester Kent Harrison Robbins, a land use attorney. "They're not educated in art."-Rob Jordan

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