Discovering South Beach Deco: Walking Tours in the Miami Beach Art Deco District

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9780976023807: Discovering South Beach Deco: Walking Tours in the Miami Beach Art Deco District

A community of unique and wonderful buildings sets a splendid stage for South Florida’s most famous playground. South Beach architecture is colorful, appealing, and whimsical. Some structures are fantastic, and many are downright glamorous. Most were built between 1920 and 1940, designed by a handful of architects who applied pastel colors, nautical ideas and beach themes to Art Deco design. The convergence of this "Tropical Deco" style with early South Florida Mediterranean influences, the later emergence of Miami Modern (MiMo), and the mingling of these styles (often in the same building) make South Beach a fascinating destination for architecture enthusiasts. In 1979, one square mile of "Old Miami Beach" became the first twentieth century district to be listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The human scale of the buildings and the cozy size of the district make South Beach an ideal place to explore on foot.

"Discovering South Beach Deco: Walking Tours in the Miami Beach Art Deco District" is both a reference book and a tour guide. It presents eight self-guided walks, from sizzling Ocean Drive to the charming neighborhoods off the beach. Each tour includes a user-friendly map, historical background and commentary on buildings and architectural details, as well as pointers to food, museums and other diversions along the route. Over 300 buildings and historic sites are covered, most with accompanying black and white pictures. Supplementary chapters explore the history and architecture of Miami Beach in more detail, making this an indispensable guide for locals and well-informed tourists alike.

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An Overview of the Walking Tours

Walk 1: A Stroll Along the Ocean 3/4 mile (1.2 km) Walking time 1 1/2 - 2 hours This tour follows Ocean Drive from the 600 to the 1400 block as you walk along palm-studded Lummus Park, the longest public beach in Miami Beach. Built in the mid- to late 1930s, the predominantly Art Deco and Streamline Moderne hotels that face the park are among the most glamorous buildings in South Beach. The walk is short, but the lobbies and cafés are tempting. Combine with Walk 2, where you can see buildings of similar style and vintage, and catch a glimpse of the future.

Walk 2: Collins Avenue Jaunt 1/3 mile (540 meters) Walking time 1 hour As the thirties decade rolled to a close, development extended to the north. Collins Avenue and its hotels become progressively larger and more modern as you venture from the 1400 to the 1600 block. Structures start out in Art Deco and Moderne, then begin to flirt with International Style and Miami Modern (MiMo). Some very resort-oriented designs, from Albert Anis in particular, add to the fun on this short jaunt. Combine with Walk 3 to continue the historical progression.

Walk 3: The Northern Fringe 1 1/2 miles (2.4 km) Walking time 2 1/2 - 3 hours This three part walk begins with some of the largest hotels within the District, on the beach side of Collins Avenue between Lincoln Road and 20th Street. Dating from 1940 through the early 1950s, these feature artsy lobbies, private beaches and spectacular pools. The entire strip represents the "crossover" period between the late Art Deco/Streamline Moderne era and 1950s MiMo. The second leg of the tour goes to the northern boundary of the Historic District. An area the City is actively developing, it encompasses Collins Park, the Bass Museum of Art and two of the oldest historic sites in Miami Beach, the Collins Canal and the Fisher Golf Course Clubhouse. The last leg returns to thirties Moderne, ending on a nautical note at Lincoln Road. Combine with Walk 4 to grab a little café time, and perhaps to shop.

Walk 4: Lincoln Road, "Fifth Avenue of the South" 1/2 mile (800 meters) Walking time 1 hour A pedestrian walking area and outdoor mall since 1960, Lincoln Road is the lively shopping and sidewalk café center of South Beach. The buildings on the mall are a lovely mix of Mediterranean Revival and Art Deco/Moderne styles dating from the 1920s and 1930s. Art Deco fans and movie buffs will especially appreciate the spectacular Thomas W. Lamb designed Lincoln Theatre. Combine with Walk 5 for a café scene with a Spanish flavor, and a taste of the neighborhood.

Walk 5: A Spanish Village and Beyond 1 1/8 miles (1.8 km) Walking time 2 - 2 1/2 hours This loop walk is a stroll through Espanola Way and the adjacent interior neighborhoods. With its Spanish barrel tile roofs, sculptured casts, arches, elaborate capitals, grillwork and elegant hand painted designs, Espanola Way is unlike any other area in the Historic District. The charming low-rise neighborhoods offer a wide sampling of 1930s Miami Beach architecture. Side by side and often "layered" on a single building, styles include Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, Moderne, and any combination of these. You can be assured of a surprise or two on this route.

Walk 6: Washington and Collins Loop 3/4 mile (1.2 km) Walking time 1 1/2 - 2 hours This looping route covers the 800 to 1200 blocks of the two major avenues west of Ocean Drive. Washington Avenue offers a variety of historical landmarks. Examples of Mediterranean Revival style at its peak include Old Miami Beach City Hall and the Blackstone Hotel. This route passes two early oolitic limestone structures, a 1950s diner and the eclectic and fascinating Wolfsonian Museum. The up-beat Jazz tempo of the late 1930s resounds on Collins Avenue. This is perhaps the heart of South Beach Deco style, with theatrical marquees, futuristic spires and fabulous curved corner entry hotels. Combine with Walk 7 to see a bit more of Collins Avenue before you head for the Flamingo Park neighborhood.

Walk 7: Central South Beach and Flamingo Park 1 mile (1.6 km) Walking time 1 1/2 - 2 hours This cross-sectional walk offers the most representative slice of South Beach: a mix of hotel, commercial and residential structures of all ages. The route passes mid- to late 1930s Deco and Med-Deco hotels before heading for Flamingo Park and a stroll by several outstanding residential buildings dating from the mid-twenties to the early forties. On this walk you will see more than a dozen Streamline Moderne apartment buildings designed by architect Henry Hohauser. One of the highlights on this tour is the trip into the striking interior of the Miami Beach Post Office. Combine with Walk 6 for more hotels, or Walk 8 for more residences.

Walk 8: South of Flamingo Park 1 1/2 miles (2.4 km) Walking time 3 hours With over 50 buildings, this is the longest walk in the book. Unlike the others, this tour is comprised of only residential buildings, some of the oldest in the Historic District. You will see every conceivable early twenties to late forties South Beach style here, and many transitional designs. A collection of L. Murray Dixon classic Art Deco apartment buildings are featured.

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Beaubien, Richard, Beaubien, Valerie
Published by Domani Press (2004)
ISBN 10: 0976023806 ISBN 13: 9780976023807
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Domani Press, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110976023806

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