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ARCHITECTURAL STYLES

Vernacular Style
ca.1900-1930's
Vernacular is not a style "per se," but rather a common method of typical early construction in South Florida. The materials and forms encompassed wood frame and masonry construction. These materials and methods were transferred from abroad with the Beach's early settlers. Through time, many of these structures were replaced.
Wood Frame construction was most evident in the earliest days of Ocean Beach and reflected a secluded resort-like character. Rooms were generous and well ventilated. Tall ceilings, large windows, and sometimes protective overhangs responded to the then untouched environment. Frame vernacular building flourished in the early twentieth century, with most examples in Ocean Beach being built between 191 0 and 1920.

Noted for stark simplicity, vernacular structures are usually rectilinear in form with little or no elaboration. Functional elements supply the only elaboration or decoration except that occasionally modest Classical elements were referenced such as the engaged pilasters that were seen on the Atlantic Hotel at 112 Ocean Drive, built in 1915. Most are one and two stories in height with flat, gable or hipped roof and a single story porch extending across the front. Little or no ornamentation was intentionally applied to residential or commercial structures.

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
112 Ocean Drive


A Bungalow Style building, Coral Rock house, located at 900 Collins Avenue, Miami BeachBungalow Style

ca. 1910s - 1930s
Bungalows were a popular and economical form of middle class home built in Ocean Beach from the earliest development years through the 1930s. Many of these simple structures may have been constructed from mail order house plans gotten from catalogues published in southern California(29) but others were designed by local architects as distinguished as V. H. Nellenbogen. Three such modest residences located at 900, 906 and 91 8 Fourth Street were designed by Nellenbogen in 1934 but unfortunately demolished in September 1995.

Typically, bungalows were of wood frame construction, one to one and a half stories in height, with gable roofs, overhanging eaves, front porches , and large wood sash windows. They afforded good cross ventilation, a shaded outdoor area, and adapted well to South Florida coastal conditions, generally being elevated two to three feet above grade on foundation walls or masonry piers.

Surface materials used on the exteriors of bungalows in Ocean Beach varied. Narrow wood clapboards, stucco, and even oolitic limestone (locally referred to as "coral rock") provided for a pleasant diversity of outward appearances.

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
312 (altered), 361 Jefferson Avenue
242, 313, 327 Meridian Avenue
355Washington Avenue
815, 828, 912, 919 (Vanity Novelty Garden) 4th Street

 

A 3 story Mediterranean Style multifamily building in Miami Beach showing typical architectural features.Mediterranean Revival Style
ca. mid 1910s - early 1930s
Mediterranean Revival architecture was the "style of choice" for the first major boom period in Ocean Beach. Its connotation of Mediterranean resort architecture, combining expressions of Italian, Moorish, North African and Southern Spanish themes, was found to be an appropriate and commercially appealing image for the new Floridian seaside resort.


A Street view from Washington Avenue looking eastward to Espanola Way, showing the historic architecture typical for this portion of Espanola WayDuring the mid 1910s through the early 1930s the style was applied to hotels, apartment buildings, commercial structures, and even modest residences. Its architectural vocabulary was characterized by stucco walls, low pitched terra cotta and historic Cuban tile roofs, arches, scrolled or tile capped parapet walls and articulated door surrounds, sometimes utilizing Spanish Baroque decorative motifs and Classical elements. Feature detailing was occasionally executed in keystone.

Application of the architectural vocabulary in Ocean Beach ranged from sparing to modestly exuberant, and building massing varied from simple rectangular form to stepped massing with recessed wall planes and tower-like corner features. Wooden casement or double hung windows of several configurations provided additional detail to the facades.

A 7 story Mutlifamily Mediterranean Style building on the Beach with  large arched windows on the ground floorSome Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
126 (Red Sands (altered), 150 (Century annex), 222, and 312 Ocean Drive
100 (Hotel Nemo), 108, 157, 211, 221, 257, and 336 Collins Avenue
259 (The Madison - altered), 411 (Harrison Hotel), and 421 Washington Avenue
334, 400 Euclid Avenue
321, 337-339, and 552 Jefferson Avenue
234, 326, and 426 Meridian Avenue
321, 411, 532, and 560 (altered)Michigan Avenue
227, and 233 1st Street
723, 727, 735, 739, 803, and 819-821 2nd Street
739, 741, 927, 935, and 941 4th Street
628-644 6th Street


The Current Wolfsonian Museum on Washington Avenue with typical Med-Deco Architectural detailsMediterranean Revival - Art Deco Transitional ("Med-Deco")
(ca. late 1920s - mid 1930s)
"Med-Deco" in Ocean Beach was a synthesis of Mediterranean Revival form and A rt Deco decorative detail. This unique hybrid style became a fascinating bridge between the "familiar" and the "new" as the allure of Art Deco found its way into the Beach's architectural vocabulary. Clean ziggurat roof lines and crisp geometric detailing replaced scrolled parapets, bracketed cornices and Classical features on structures of clear Mediterranean Revival form. Likewise, sloped barrel tile roofs rested gracefully on edifices with spectacular Art Deco entrances and facade treatments.

Some of the most celebrated architects in Miami Beach designed structures in this brief-lived style, including V. H. Nellenbogen, Henry Hohauser and T. Hunter Henderson.
The predominant exterior material of Med-Deco was smooth stucco with raised o r incised details. Featured stucco areas were often patterned or scored. Keystone, either natural or filled and colored, was frequently used to define special elements. Windows ranged from wood and steel casement to wood double hung.

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style include:
344 (Ocean Beach Apartments - V. H. Nellenbogen) Ocean Drive
201 (altered) Collins Avenue
245, and 350 Washington Avenue
328, and 344 (La Belle Apartments - Henry Ho hauser) Euclid Avenue
705-745 (Lindberg Hotel - T. Hunter Henderson) 5th Street


A typical 3 story Art Deco HotelArt Deco Style
ca. late 1920s - 1930s
Art Deco is considered one of the first twentieth century architectural styles in America to break with traditional revival forms. It emanated largely from the impact of the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, a design fair celebrating the reconciliation between the decorative arts and advancements in technology and industry.(30) Architects searching for design "purity" became eager to explore new possibilities afforded by the rapidly evolving Machine Ag e.(31) An architectural style unfolded which looked to both the past and the future for its design inspiration.

Building forms in the Art Deco style were typically angular and clean, with stepped back facades, symmetrical or asymmetrical massing and strong vertical accenting. The preferred decorative language included geometric patterns, abstracted natural forms, modern industrial symbols and ancient cultural motifs employing Mayan, Egyptian and Indigenous American themes.

In Ocean B each and its immediate environs a unique form of Art Deco employed nautical themes as well as tropical floral and fauna motifs. Ocean liners, palm trees, flamingos and numerous related elements graced the exteriors and interiors of the new local architecture. The favored materials for executing this distinctive "art" decor included bas-relief stucco, keystone, etched glass, a variety of metals, cast concrete, patterned terrazzo, and others. Today this distinctive design vocabulary, which further incorporated glass block, vitrolite and stunning painted wall murals, has become the hallmark of Miami Beach's internationally recognized Art Deco gems.

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
140 (Century Hotel - Hen ry Hohauser), 201 Collins
304, 321 (Simone Hotel), 334, 335 (Sorrento Hotel), 412, 425 (Savoy Plaza), 436, 444, and 460 Ocean Drive
200 (Bell Ray Apts.), 212, 310, 345, and 361 (President Apts.) Collins Avenue
101, 161, 235, 347, 354, 423-43 7,536 (Henry Hotel), and 540 (Paris Theater - formerly Variety - Henry Hohauser) Washington Avenue
266, 320, and 350 Euclid Avenue
307, 316-320, 324-326, 327, and 343 Jefferson Avenue
300, 308-314 (Marlis Apts), 359 (Forman Apts), 410 (More a Apts), 411, and 540-550 Meridian Avenue
550, 551, and 559 Michigan Avenue
230 (former Crystal Apts - Henry Hohauser - now Pommier Bldg) 1st Street
1020 6th Street

 

A close up curved corner detail of a Streamline Modern building Moderne Style (aka "Streamline" Moderne)
ca. 1930s-1940
As "Art Deco" evolved on the Beach in the 1930s modern transportation and industrial design began to have an even greater impact upon new construction. The "streamlined" character of automobiles, airplanes, trains, buses, liners and even home appliances inspired powerful horizontal design compositions, accentuated by striking vertical features and punctuated by icons of the technological era. Continuous "eyebrows", racing stripe banding, radio tower-like spires, portholes, and deck railings like those found on grand ocean liners, were among the unique features to set this architecture apart from anything before it. The creative incorporation of nautical themes showed this form of Art Deco to be true to its origins in Ocean Beach.
Smooth, rounded corners often replaced sharp ones on Moderne buildings, especially on corner lots. "Eyebrows" swept around them as did other details. Street corners became inviting architectural focal points, whether the special treatment employed was based upon curves or angles.

Like earlier Art Deco buildings, the Moderne style incorporated smooth and articulated stucco, architectural glass block, keystone and a variety of metals used in detailing. Predominating surfaces became smooth, planer and aerodynamic in character.

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
125 (Villa Luisa), 350 (Lord Balfour - Anton Skislewicz)Ocean Drive
349-351, and 421 Meridian Avenue
521-539 Michigan Avenue
901-921 (Carlos B. Schoeppl) 3rd Street

 

Classical Revival - Art Deco StyleClassical Revival - Art Deco Style
ca. 1930s - early 1940s
During the 1930s in America, buildings of a religious or monumental nature often relied upon the form and language of Classical Revival architecture as a means of ensuring a traditional and formidable presence in the community. In Ocean Beach, however, the tide of Art Deco was strong. Buildings that exhibited Classical form, such as the Paramount Plaza (formerly the Hotel Arlington) and the 1936 annex to the Beth Jacob Temple, also displayed architectural features and decorative elements that were significantly influenced by the new Deco architecture of the Beach. Cornices and molding bands on the Hotel Arlington were designed to feel more like the continuous "eyebrows" of the Moderne style. Likewise, the columns of the Arlington were relieved of their Classical capitals and allowed to support the balcony above on clean cylindrical shafts. In the annex to the Beth Jacob Temp le bas relief cast stone spandrel panels between the stained glass windows were executed in Art Deco stylized acanthus leaves flanking a central Star of David, and the octagonal drum at the "crossing" on the roof above was graced with eight octagonal windows.

Some examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
455 (Paramount Plaza - formerly Hotel Arlington - Albert Anis)Ocean Drive
301 (Beth Jacob Synagogue 1936 annex - Henry Hohauser - now home of MOSAIC) Washington Avenue



Post World War II Transitional Art Deco (aka Post War Deco)
ca. post World War II - 1960
Post War Deco drew significantly from the form and decorative vocabulary of both early Art Deco in Miami Beach a nd Moderne. Although single block massing was predominant the emphasis could be placed on either horizontal or vertical composition, dependent upon the size of the structure, the character of the site, and the will of the architect. Frequently, continuo us eyebrows would be extended to form side or front canopies, either cantilevered or supported on their furthest edge by columns. New decorative materials were introduced which reflected changing tastes nationally, including brick, permastone, and cast architectural block in a variety of "open" patterns. The latter was particularly favored for rails and screen walls. Although steel casement windows were predominant, aluminum "awning" type windows began appear latter. Many of these delightful structure s in Ocean Beach paid wonderful tribute to their architectural origins while effectively addressing changing times.

Some examples of "contributing structures" in this style include:
121 (Sea Crest Apartments), and 158 Ocean Drive
301-309, and 428 Collins Avenue
320, 336 Meridian Avenue
201 2nd Street
801-807 4th Street
1030, 1040, and 1050 6th Street


Post World War II Modern Style (aka Post War Modern)
ca. post World War II - 1965
The Post War Modern style in Ocean Beach exhibited many elements of its companion style of the period, Post War Deco, but clearly established a path of its own in terms of modern functional simplicity. Essentially the strong design personality of Art Deco, as it evolved over two decades on the Beach, significantly gave way to the dictates of function in the Post War Modern seaside resort architecture.

Floor plans were commonly reorganized from interior double loaded corridors to "open air" verandas on one side or more. Single block massing remained a dominant characteristic but new functional exterior elements profoundly impacted on design. Overhanging roof plates and projecting floor slabs became typical of the new "style" along with paired or clustered pipe columns to support them. Symmetrical staircases became significant exterior design features.

Additional design elements and materials were added to the architectural vocabulary, including rounded eaves, rock face feature areas, cast concrete decorative panels, and applied masonry elements denoting marine and nautical themes, such as seahorses and anchors.

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
130 Ocean Drive
518, and 536 Euclid Avenue
220, 224, 250, 253, 350, and 422 Meridian Avenue
419 Michigan Avenue
809-815 2nd Street

 

Eclectic
ca. 1920s - 1950s
Eclectic architecture in Ocean Be ach includes buildings which adopt the style(s) of another time and/or another place selected by the architect, at will, for a purpose. Henry Hohauser's fanciful English Tudor style cottage located at 321 Collins Avenue is an amazing example of Eclectic architecture in Ocean Beach. Its sharp gable roofs, half-frame (exposed) timbers, and Gothic window lintel details are clearly not a part of the natural architectural progression on the Beach, but yet they command the desired attention and assure a spe cial place.

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
321 Collins Avenue
311 (the original Beth Jacob Synagogue structure) Washington Avenue


The Garden Style

ca. late 1940s - mid 1960s
The primary defining characteristic of the Garden Style in Ocean Beach is that the entryway and public walkways are placed on the exterior, where they are open to the natural elements and surround a common garden area. A large central front entry leads to an open symmetrical staircase, ascending to the upper level(s), and behind it the courtyard. The plan is "U" shape and basically consists of two identical two to three story buildings facing onto a shared central garden/courtyard, often with a fountain in the center, and joined at the rear. Visually and structurally the buildings are united by a grand low pitched gable roof (typically) extending like gull wings across the front and over the open central entryway. The roof plate usually overhangs open walkways below and may be conclude in a rounded eave characteristic of late 1950s modern architecture in Miami Beach.(32)

Architectural ornamentation is generally modest and minimal in the Garden Style, normally consisting of cantilevered balconies with ornamental pierced block railings, and sometimes exuberantly detailed wrought iron rails on stairs and along open walkways. Occasionally the grand gabled roof visually rests on broad cut stone engaged pilasters.
In providing a large central open entry and situating the apartment units facing inward on a common garden area, this important modern building style in Ocean Beach provides a sense of community facilitating greater social interaction and security f or its occupants.(32)

Some Examples of "contributing structures" in this style:
101, 250-260 (Shalom House), 340-350, and 401(Southern Star) Collins Avenue
65-75 (Golden Dreams) Washington Avenue
358 (Tranquility House) Euclid Avenue
543, and 655 Meridian Avenue
901-911 4th Street