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What is Miami Modernist Architecture and Where Can I Visit Buildings Like These?

by Editor

Miami Modernist architecture began in South Florida during the post-war period. This style of architecture was developed as a response to the fast-growing international style of architecture at the time.

Tens of buildings in Miami were constructed in this style. In fact, on January 17th, 2018, Miami Beach’s City Hall Commission unanimously decided to grant more than 250 buildings special protection against demolition.

These buildings have great historical significance and are a picture-perfect ode to Floridian architecture.

If you’re keen on seeing what these buildings look like, we’ve compiled a short list of establishments with the MiMo design that you can visit.

The Waterside Hotel

Waterside Hotel is a striking, hella-sixties building located in Miami Beach. Designed by Robert M. Nordin in 1957, this hotel has a classic MiMo feel. It has a retro, classic look on the outside but was recently renovated to add a cozier, more chic interior.

This historical monument often attracts top politicians, Hollywood Stars, and traveling entrepreneurs looking to enjoy the comfortable, tropical feel.

With access to the beautiful sandy beach, television, WiFi, and luxury bath products, the Waterside perfectly depicts how Miami Modernist architecture can be elegant and classy yet functional, comfortable, and livable.

The Ritz Carlton

This cozy getaway is tucked right in the heart of South Beach, one of the most popular neighborhoods in Miami. Ritz Carlton is considered a landmark down in Miami for a good reason. It was designed by Morris Lapidus, a one-of-a-kind architect whose name will go down in history.

Ritz Carlton is in a neighborhood teeming with monuments and old buildings, making it the icing on the cake. If you’re into classic architecture, you’ll have a great time at the Ritz Carlton in South Beach, Miami.

The Drake Villas

Like all other buildings on this list, The Drake Villas were built more than half a century ago. These villas were designed by Donald Smith and Irvin Korach in 1948 and are as MiMo as it gets. They are painted stark white and are located adjacent to the water.

The Drake Villas are touted as the North Shore’s most ambitious project. It comprises thirteen buildings grouped to frame courts and patios, pools, and other recreation areas. If you’re planning to go on a long vacation or looking for alternatives to furnished apartments in Miami, these villas are perfect for a long-term stay.

Eden Roc Hotel

Eden Roc Hotel was designed in 1955 again by Morris Lapidus, an immensely talented and creative architect. This building is located on Miami Beach and is frequented by Hollywood stars, politicians, and tourists looking for a warm, cozy haven.

Eden Roc’s all-white exterior gives it a classic, nostalgic feel. With access to an exclusive strip of beach, this historic venue will be a great place to stay when you’re out in Miami.

Eden Roc Hotel is the perfect tribute to the past: a carefree, breezy atmosphere and cozy rooms against the backdrop of Miami’s perfect weather and vibrant nightlife. Some things will never get old.

Union Planters Bank

Designed by Francis Hoffman, Union Planters Bank is an elegant structure that seamlessly combines classical and modernist elements. Located on Normandy Drive, this building accurately represents the Miami Modernist Style. It has breeze blocks made using concrete circles, giving it an airy, breezy, breathable feel.

Union Planters Bank also has several protruding arch-shaped pillars that pay homage to classical design. This building is a Miami landmark that is here to stay.

Miami Modernist Style: The Architecture Trend That’s Here to Stay

Miami has a fascinating architectural landscape. Over the past seventy years, creative geniuses have teamed up to design some of the most bizarre yet attractive and functional buildings in the country. Other cities are conservative with their architecture, but Miami couldn’t be more different.

Walking down Miami Beach, you’re likely to see buildings with bright-colored walls: yellow, orange, mauve, and turquoise, perhaps even pink. That’s the spirit of Miami Modernist architecture.

Although the buildings that adorn the beautiful coastline of Miami were designed and built ages ago, they still hold to the city’s spirit. Chill, breezy and carefree, these buildings were designed to make people feel calm and connected to nature.


Whether you’re staying at the Waterside Hotel, Ritz Charlton, the Drake Villas, or simply walking past the Union Planters Bank, there’s something about these buildings that will appeal to you.

If you’re curious about Miami Modernist architecture and want to see such buildings, we highly recommend you set aside ample time to tour this beautiful city and familiarize yourself with its history. We can’t think of a better vacation.

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