Miami Art and Architecture

By Ashley Walton

Having studied architecture at the University of Miami, I tend to find myself coming back to the area every so often...any chance I get, really! This spring, I took a few days to escape down to explore a little bit of Miami Beach and Wynwood.

Miami Beach- Ocean Drive

We started off the trip with a bike ride through South Beach.  I always enjoy the lively atmosphere and colorful, uniquely Miami, Art Deco hotels on Ocean Drive.


Art Deco Hotels along Ocean Drive

Miami's Art Deco District is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world.


Art Deco is a design aesthetic first popularized in 1920s Paris, which spread throughout the world until World War II.  Most of the Art Deco buildings in Miami were built during the 1930s and '40s and are considered part of the second wave of Art Deco known as Streamline Moderne. Some of the notable features of Miami Art Deco include stream-lined details, symmetry, stepped rooflines, eyebrow window overhangs, porthole windows, curved edges and corners, and of course neon lighting!  


Eyebrow sun shades, corner windows, and stream-lined forms

With its tropical, seaside influences, Miami's Art Deco is sometimes referred to as Tropical Deco. Characterized by vibrant pastel colors, floral and aquatic details, and nautical forms reminiscent of ocean liners.

Miami is also one of the few cities designed to be walkable after the advent of the automobile, so there are a lot of interesting things to see within a short stroll!

The historic Breakwater Hotel

Serving up fresh fruit, coconut milk, and a show

Our next stop was a quick afternoon trip to Wynwood.  With the success of Miami's hugely popular Art Basel fair, the city and surrounding areas have evolved into a dynamic cultural and artistic hub. 

The thriving art scene can really be felt in Wynwood, where muralists from around the world showcase their creative talents on buildings throughout the neighborhood with massive large-scale works of art. 

Large-scale murals at Wynwood Walls

The many warehouses throughout Wynwood with blank, windowless walls provide a perfect canvas for graffiti artists. 

Outdoor seating abounds at trendy cafes 

Wynwood is also home to Wynwood Walls, a permanent avant-garde mural exhibit featuring some of the world’s most renowned street artists. 


Murals at Wynwood Walls

If you have the chance to explore Miami, be sure to check out the abundant art and architecture this exciting city has to offer. You won’t even have to miss any sunshine to see it!