For the last few years my interest in architecture has grown a lot. I’ve always appreciated architecture (especially after traveling in Europe and seeing some masterpieces) but lately I’ve found myself reading articles about it online and learning a bit more about the various styles in depth.
When it comes to Miami Beach Architecture, the first name that comes to mind is Morris Lapidus. Lapidus was known for his Neo-baroque Miami Modern hotels that defined the era in the 1950’s (great stuff on wiki). He is the genius behind the Fontainebleau Hotel and it’s neighbor the Eden Roc. Both Hotels hosted some of that era’s biggest stars and today they continue to be a main Miami Beach attraction. Not to mention, I have a lot of my own personal history with both hotels.
His influence in Miami Beach is legendary and I was so excited when a friend of mine invited me to a special event at the Eden Roc Hotel to commemorate his legacy by proclaiming his birthday November 25, as Morris Lapidus day.
It was a really fun and intimate event. The food was amazing and the champagne was flowing. There were women dressed in glam vintage style dresses walking around offering free chocolate cigars and there was also a live jazz performance. It all felt very 1950’s in a wonderful way. The Eden Roc’s GM Jim Mauer was present and spoke about the significance of Morris Lapidus’ achievements. The former Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora was also there with the official certificate.
This special honoring is long overdue. Though, Lapidus was asked to design hotels all around the country and internationally his works weren’t always popular. Wiki explains it best below. I can’t help but think of Howard Roark…(Fountainhead Reference)
“Lapidus designed 1,200 buildings, including 250 hotels worldwide. The American architectural establishment regarded Lapidus as an outsider, tried to ignore his work, then characterized it as gaudy kitsch.Ada Louise Huxtable, writing in the New York Times, said of the Americana, “The effect on arrival was like being hit by an exploding gilded eggplant.” This abusive critical reception perhaps culminated in a 1963 American Institute of Architects (AIA) meeting held at the Americana, where a variety of well-known architects including Paul Rudolph, Robert Anshen andWallace Harrison took Lapidus to task for what they described as vulgarity, cheapness, and incompetence.”
The good news is that his work and contribution to architecture was ultimately accepted. And now Miami Beach is recognizing this with his own very day.
Whenever I find myself in a space that I find truly inspiring I take mental note to find a bit of background on it. You just never know what kind of story you will find.
Learn more about Morris Lapidus here: http://morrislapidus.com