4. Miami-Dade County Courthouse
73 Flagler St., A. Ten Eyck Brown and August Geiger
Old Miami: It's not something you find a great deal of anymore, with most of our city's history having been leveled and rebuilt upon a dozen times over. But in some places, our days past still loom regally. The Miami-Dade Courthouse, built between 1924 and 1928, in all its Neoclassical, Great Depression Era glory, is a constant reminder that this city is in fact longer in the tooth than Miami Vice or Pitbull.
Based on A. Ten Eyck Brown's rejected proposal for a new Atlanta City Hall, the Courthouse was almost cut short at 10 stories during construction when the engineers realized that the building was sinking. Fortunately, they decided to pour additional cement supports in the basement that are still taking up space downstairs and keeping the building from drifting towards the Earth's core today.
3. Espirito Santo Plaza
1395 Brickell Ave., Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC
Welcome to Spaceship Espirito Santo. This green glass monolith, finished in 2004, is arguably the most simplistically beautiful and visually arresting skyscraper in all of Brickell, securing it a definite spot at the dais among the top three. The design by Kohn Pedersen and Fox Associates likely takes some of its inspiration for the concave teardrop facade from the St. Louis Arch, and just as the arch symbolizes the gateway to the west, the teardrop is said to represent Miami's place as the gateway to Latin America. Espirito Santo Plaza serves as the North American headquarters for Portugal's Espírito Santo Bank and all that glass is apparently designed to be completely flood proof.
Take a stroll down Brickell Avenue and stand across the street when the late afternoon sun starts to pour down in a cascade of reflected emerald light. Look up at that gargantuan alien surface, smooth and sloping and shining almost as big and bright as the Bay behind it. You won't be disappointed.