Architecturally, Florida is indeed one of the world’s foremost Art déco hot spots. From modernist architecture to high Victorian aesthetic appeal, the  Sunshine State now has almost all kinds of prominent architectural types and styles. From its discovery to the state we know today, Florida underwent various cultural, regional, and architectural changes. The state’s first written evidence came in 1513 from Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, but there are furthermore records of human life dating back at least 12,000 years.

It was a marshland long before such development and was administered by the Spanish and British governments before becoming a state in 1845. Because of its various shifts in authorial strength and its distinct climate in contrast to other parts of the modern US, it embraced a mix of new and old architecture. Below, we’ll break down 15 of Florida’s most impressive architectural wonders that every architect must visit.

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Map of Florida_©etsy.com

SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM – ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

It is perhaps unsurprising that a museum devoted to the artwork of a great surrealist would play with shapes and forms that are as unconventional as they are astounding. The Salvador Dali Museum displays the Reynolds & Eleanor Morse collection; while the Morses’ collection has been on display since 1982, the revolutionary building designed by Yann Weymouth of HOK, complete with bidets, was established on January 11, 2011.

Weymouth’s design combines function and form: the domes of Spanish and North African architecture are represented by a 75-foot-high geodesic glass enclosure known as “The Enigma” (and even its smaller equivalent, “The Igloo”) that protrudes from 18-inch hurricane-proof concrete walls. The framework contains a rock formation as a sub-structure near the “Fountain of Youth,” an iconic spring desired by Ponce de Leon and a signifier of Florida’s beginnings during the Exploration Age.

The Museum also houses a piece of the world’s most recognizable staircases, with a helix framework evocative of DNA.

This Museum, which opened 22 years after Dali’s death, is an inspiring tribute to the genius surrealist along with the creatives and designers all across the world.

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The Dali Museum_©www.hok.com
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The Dali Museum_©www.hok.com
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The Dali Museum_©www.hok.com
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The Dali Museum_©www.hok.com

IST BUILDING – FLORIDA POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

If Florida Southern College gave Frank Lloyd Wright a chance to create his widely admired legacy, just a few miles inland, Florida Polytechnic University gave Santiago Calatrava an opportunity to redeem himself after significant cost overruns in Valencia as well as at Ground Zero in New York.

Calatrava, as an architect for Florida Polytechnic University, had to take a much more systematic approach to budget issues. Irrespective, Calatrava provided unique characteristics. Ribbing, louvres, skylights, and other design elements encourage an abundance of natural light. The white-on-white palette and winged motif that distinguishes many of Calatrava’s works are prominent. The silhouette is dominated by ovals and curves, with the IST Building and its reflection resembling a swan. The IST Building is the result of a modernist context that is very typical of Calatrava in that certain elements of simplicity are embraced to emphasize the surreal set pieces.

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IST Building_©Alan Karchmer
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IST Building_©Alan Karchmer
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IST Building_©Alan Karchmer

St Augustine

St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, was established by a Spaniard, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, in 1565. Everywhere you look in this lovely historic city, you’ll find American history. The monuments will travel you back in time with their narrow cobblestone streets as well as colonial architecture. History buffs will enjoy the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, Fort Castillo de San Marcos, and the Fountain of Youth, while art lovers will enjoy the Lightner Museum and the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum.

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St Augustine_©stfrancisinn.com
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St Augustine_©stfrancisinn.com
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St Augustine_©stfrancisinn.com

PANORAMA TOWER

Panorama Tower, located on Brickell Avenue in Miami, is Florida’s highest skyscraper; Panorama was completed on March 30, 2017, though some parts of construction remained unfinished as of December 2017. Architect  Moshe Cosicher designed the tower. Tutor Perini won the contract in June 2014; NASDAQ reported a preliminary zoning plan, which by March 2017 had evolved to accommodate a “208-room Hyatt boutique hotel, three movie theatres, automated motor stations, high-end retail space of 50,000 square feet, and 100,000 square feet of “medically oriented’ office space,” according to the Miami New Times. The Panorama Tower received a Specialty Construction Award of Merit from Engineering News-Record in October 2017. ENR praised the tower’s 19-story base podium layout, whose parking garage significantly reduced the project’s impact on the city traffic jams and enhanced worksite access. Its foundation is also noteworthy, with nearly 12,000 cubic yards of concrete and 3500 tonnes of steel, making it the largest in the state of Florida.

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Panorama Tower_©www.panoramatower.com
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Panorama’s East Facade_©www.panoramatower.com
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Panorama Tower Facing Brickell Bay and South Beach_©www.panoramatower.com

CA’ D’ZAN-THE RINGLING ESTATE

Florida’s architecture frequently has an old-world flavour; structures influenced by southern Europe and the Mediterranean reflect Florida’s history as a treasured colony during the Exploration Era.

For a quarter-century, John and Mable Ringling toured Europe, performing circus acts and accumulating art. The Ringlings began work on a residence in Sarasota, Florida, after being fascinated by sumptuous offerings from Venetian architecture, such as the Ducal Palace and the Ca D’Oro.

Ca’ D’Zan has five floors and 56 rooms with paintings, sculptures, and authentic furnishings. It also has an 83-foot tower. Ca’ D’Zan was designed by New York architect Dwight James Baum. Mable Ringling meticulously edited the design and production, and her comprehensive observations from Europe strongly influenced the visual style. Ca’ D’Zan was initially roofed with mid-sixteenth-century Spanish tiles and is decorated with glazed tiles as well as terra cotta.

Ca’ D’Zan was a suitable home for a colourful couple who were larger than life, combining John and Mable’s preferred Venetian structural characteristics with style nods to Florida’s Spanish colonial past.

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Aerial views of Ca’ d’Zan_ ©Jonathan Warren, Suncoast Aerials.
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John Ringling’s Bedroom, Ca’ d’Zan_©Giovanni Lunardi.
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Court, Ca’ d’Zan_ ©Giovanni Lunardi.

FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE CAMPUS – FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT COLLECTION

Florida Southern College, located in Lakeland, Florida, is a traditionally Methodist private school with an incredibly beautiful campus designed by the world-famous Frank Lloyd Wright. Founded in 1883, it now has the distinction of displaying the most Frank Lloyd Wright structures compared to any other location on the planet.

The Princeton Review currently ranks Florida Southern College as the 7th most beautiful premises in the country.

The naturalistic ease of Wright’s designs contributes to their timelessness and charm. These buildings, made from locally available materials, are distinguished by their minimalistic and willful silhouettes. Pretentiousness and overabundance are discouraged in favour of maturity and nuance. Except for one, the buildings are connected by covered walkways known as esplanades.

Wright’s task at Florida Southern College was a massive achievement because it introduced a new and approachable view of modern architecture to institutional infrastructure in the United States and around the world.

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Florida Southern College Campus_©franklloydwright.org
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Florida Southern College Campus_©franklloydwright.org
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Florida Southern College Campus_©franklloydwright.org

PLANT HALL – UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA

Plant Hall, one of the most historic structures on any university premises, dates back to the Gilded Age. Plant Hall is ornately styled and merges an opulent lavish aesthetic with Moorish as well as Turkish influences popular during the Victorian era. Domes and turrets distinguish the silhouette.

Construction on what was originally known as the Tampa Bay Hotel started in 1888 and was executed in 1891. Henry B. Plant, a transportation magnate who had brought train line access to Tampa in 1884, oversaw the project. Plant self-funded the project for $2.5 million (approximately $65 million today). They hired New York architect John A. Wood for the design.

The hotel boasted 511 rooms with modern amenities almost unseen for a hotel of the day, such as telephone and electricity service in every room; additionally, the hotel installed the state’s first passenger and freight elevators.

By 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Plant had persuaded the Secretary of War to make Tampa the official port of embarkation for American troops confined for Cuba, and the hotel became an operational base for military commanders, including then-Colonel Teddy Roosevelt.

The Tampa Bay Hotel grounds supported a sizable local economy. Plant Field, a baseball park on hotel grounds, was built in 1899; Babe Ruth hit the longest home run of his career at Plant Field throughout 1919 spring practice. Plant Hall now serves as a component of the University of Tampa premises and houses the Henry B. Plant Museum.

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University Of Tampa_©sonshinetours.com
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University Of Tampa_©sonshinetours.com
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A grand staircase inside Plant Hall._©Gordon Tarpley

Florida Keys Scenic Highway

The Florida Keys Scenic Highway travels 110 miles and 43 keys from Florida to Key West. The Keys are an archipelago of islands. Travelling down this All-American Road with miles of breathtaking ocean views, spectacular sunrises, sparkling water on both sides, and airy palm trees is an experience worth your time.

The Florida Keys, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico meet, is arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Aside from spectacular views, the Keys have a marvellous amalgamation of distinct cultures, music, art, and cuisines.

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Florida Keys_©www.randmcnally.com
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Florida Keys_©www.randmcnally.com
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Florida Keys_©www.randmcnally.com

Key West

This is the state’s southernmost paradise and easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Florida. Key West is a one-of-a-kind melting pot of historical past, climate, natural beauty, and diversity. The picturesque Florida Keys trip concludes in Key West, which is situated 90 miles to the north of Cuba.

Well-known authors have lived in this relaxed and charming city. The pastel-coloured pastel-hued and conch-style houses inspired by Cuban as well as Bahamian heritage will travel you back in time. A trip down Duval Street will take you to unique boutiques, souvenir shops, and restaurants, and there is always a lively vibe in this Key West centre.

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Key West Streets_©https://expertvagabond.com/
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Key West Duval Street_©https://expertvagabond.com/
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Key West Cruise_©www.expertvagabond.com

South Beach, Miami Beach

Miami Beach is frequently confused with its neighbouring Miami city, which is home to world-famous beaches and sunny Florida. South Beach is the most charismatic beach in Florida and a truly breathtaking place to visit in the sunshine state. This Architectural District is much more than a long stretch of golden sand.

Beautifully restored structures from the early 1930s line the scenic Ocean Drive. Many of the city’s opulent hotels and restaurants are now part of the Art Deco Historic District, reflecting the city’s vibrant history. Miami Beach is a picturesque visit to Florida’s beautiful sandy beach, whether you want to spend the night on the beach or have a fun-filled good timeout Beach Miami Beach.

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Life Guard Hut South Beach, Miami_https://www.bahamasairtours.com/
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Art Deco Restaurant South Beach, Miami_https://www.bahamasairtours.com/
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South Beach, Miami_https://www.bahamasairtours.com/

Villa Vizcaya

The Villa Vizcaya, considered a hidden gem of Miami, Florida, is an excellent example of Mediterranean architecture. The estate includes an exquisite Italian Renaissance garden that has been faithfully restored, an ancient village compound, and a native woodland landscape. The structure has an open layout with high ceilings and arched doorways. The estate, which overlooks Biscayne Bay, has a spectacular view of the water from its majestic arched windows. The structure has pastel stucco exterior walls and red tile roofs, that is typical of Mediterranean architecture. The Vizcaya Museum, as well as the Gardens, are now accessible to the general public.

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Villa Vizcaya_©https://www.travelmag.com
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Villa Vizcaya Gardens_©www.travelmag.com
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Villa Vizcaya_©www.travelmag.com

Everglades

The Everglades, a natural landmass with tropical wetlands, covers two million acres in central and southern Florida. From Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay, the entire region is a shallow river. The Everglades National Park, also known as the “river of grass,” is home to a variety of habitats, including cypress marshes, wet prairies, and mangroves, as well as exceptional wildlife.

The wetland is ideal for birdwatching, camping, hiking, angling, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.

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Everglades_©floridanationalparks.org
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Everglades Airboat Ride_©floridanationalparks.org
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Everglades National Park_©floridanationalparks.org

Sanibel Island

Sanibel is located on Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida. A causeway connects this barrier island to Fort Myers. Sanibel is best known for its luxurious resorts, exquisite boutiques, and galleries, but it also has some of the best shelling in the world. Dolphins, sea turtles, and a variety of bird species can be seen along Sanibel’s pristine beaches.

The JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a treasured wildlife conservation area on the island’s northern front. This secluded location brings you closer to nature with pastel scenic views, a historic lighthouse, and fine accommodations.

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Sanibel Island Lighthouse_©https://www.atasteofkoko.com/
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Sanibel Island _©https://www.atasteofkoko.com/
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Sanibel Island Streets_©https://www.atasteofkoko.com/

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Fort Lauderdale has a lot to offer to those who enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. This resort city, located 25 miles north of Miami, will travel you back to Venice with its beautiful canals and waterways. The city’s broad sidewalks, gondola rides, and heritage make it ideal for a family vacation. This lively city offers a dreamy Florida vacation, from exploring the legendary Stranahan House with furnished antiques to shopping on Las Olas Boulevard.

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Fort Lauderdale Streets_https://www.visitlauderdale.com
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Fort Lauderdale Beach Park_https://www.visitlauderdale.com
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Las Olas Boulevard_https://www.visitlauderdale.com

Dry Tortugas National Park

The Dry Tortugas National Park is a collection of seven small islands located 70 miles off the coast of Key West. This island, named after the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon in 1513, is teeming with sea turtles. The historic Fort Jefferson serves as the Park’s focal point.

Built in the 1800s by the US government, it served as a prison during the Civil War. Camping under the constellations with a warm tropical wind or snorkeling in the clear, deep waters is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

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Dry Tortugas National Park_©floridanationalparks.org
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Dry Tortugas National Park_©floridanationalparks.org
Dry Tortugas National Park_©floridanationalparks.org

Many consider America’s Sunshine State to be the ultimate laid-back paradise, with lengths of fine white powder seashores, dense regions of mangrove swamps, adventurous wetlands, bohemian settlements, party urban centers apparently made for vacation, crazy surf beach resorts, truly beautiful collection of tropical islands, and a few of the most picturesque scenery on the earth. Florida is indeed a true beauty spot!

References

  1. RTF | Rethinking The Future. 2022. 10 architectural styles seen in Florida – RTF | Rethinking The Future. [online] Available at: <https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/architectural-styles/a3048-10-architectural-styles-seen-in-florida/> [Accessed 7 October 2022].
  2. Phil Kean Design Group | Distinctive Custom Luxury Residences. 2022. Florida’s Six Most Impressive Architectural Projects | Phil Kean Design Group. [online] Available at: <https://philkeandesigns.com/blog/floridas-impressive-architectural-projects/> [Accessed 7 October 2022].
  3. Anderson, M., 2022. 15 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Florida. [online] Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled. Available at: <https://globalgrasshopper.com/destinations/north-america/top-15-of-the-most-beautiful-places-to-visit-in-florida/> [Accessed 7 October 2022].
  4. Gurnani, S., 2022. 11 Places To Visit In Florida For All The Travelers In 2022!. [online] Traveltriangle.com. Available at: <https://traveltriangle.com/blog/places-to-visit-in-florida/> [Accessed 7 October 2022].
  5. Travellers  15 Best Places to Visit in Florida in 2022 | Travellers . [online] Available at: <https://travellersworldwide.com/best-places-to-visit-in-florida/> [Accessed 7 October 2022].
Author

Ranmeet is an aspiring architect who perceives creation to be a powerful skill, "a fascinating possibility evolving from people's uniqueness and perceptions." She firmly believes that she can strive to draw parallels between her imagination and the real world by coming up with her distinctive designs.

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